India have won both their games so far in the Under-19 World Cup, but their captain and opener Ishan Kishan hasn’t come to the party with the bat yet. The left-handed batsman was caught behind for nil in the first game against Ireland on Thursday. On Saturday, he began cautiously but lost concentration and was caught for one run off 13 balls. After the match, he spoke, among other things, on the challenges of captaincy when the runs aren’t coming. Excerpts.
Though you have advanced to the quarterfinals, the top order’s batting is an area of concern.
It’s a part and parcel of the game. Every batsman has to go through this phase. Today one guy is doing well, tomorrow someone else will. What we are focusing on is to do our homework well. We don’t want to panic. It often happens in pressure situations that players panic. So we have to play calmly. If we take a little bit of time early on, we can get a lot more runs.
How difficult is it as captain not to let your shoulders droop when you haven’t performed well?
If you are the captain and you begin to feel low, it will affect the whole atmosphere in the team. You need to keep your shoulders up so that your teammates’ intensity remains. Like what we are doing, we are coming to the ground with good positive energy, and we are executing our plans well.
You took over captaincy only late last year from Ricky Bhui. What was it that the team management saw in you to give you this responsibility?
Ricky had captained the team, then I did. So they must have seen that this guy’s anticipation of the game is good. They must have thought that it would help the team. So they made me captain of the team.
What is the importance of captaincy here? Don’t players look up to and seek out the coach than the captain?
Captain has a huge role to play. Because the coach can only tell you things when you are outside (beyond the boundary). Our plan can be made in team meetings. But here, when we are playing in the ground, it’s me who has to tell players what to do and how to execute the plan. So as a captain, you have to tell the bowler that bowl up now.
Do you tell the bowlers where to bowl?
At his level you can’t tell a bowler what to do all the time because they are also India U19 players. It happens very sporadically. I can tell as a batsman, because from my fielding position – for example if I am standing at covers – I can see the batsman’s grip, how he is looking around at the field, and I try to anticipate what he might be thinking. That time I can direct my bowlers.
You played with MS Dhoni at the Vijay Hazare Trophy? What did you learn from him about captaincy?
I observed Dhoni bhai silently, because I was a junior in the team and there were many senior players. I was standing at the boundary and observing what he was doing and why. What field he was setting for which bowler. He would tell me what kind of field I could set if I had a pace bowler in the team.