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Mumbai Indians batsman Ishan Kishan in action during the Indian Premier League match against Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Mumbai on April 11, 2024.

Mumbai Indians batsman Ishan Kishan in action during the Indian Premier League match against Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Mumbai on April 11, 2024.
| Photo Credit: ANI

Meet Ishan Kishan 2.0. For this version of the wicketkeeper batter, improving himself as an individual and helping Mumbai Indians go forward in the IPL 2024 matter more than overreaching himself for a berth in India’s T20 World Cup squad.

Kishan used his marauding 34-ball 69 against the Royal Challengers Bengaluru as a pointer to his newfound mindset, which the left-hander acquired during his recent break time from cricket.

“About the World Cup, it is not in my hands and I am taking things very easy right now. You have to take one match at a time. One needs to understand that a lot is not in the hands of the players,” said Kishan in the post-match press meet.

“It’s (IPL) a very big tournament and you do not want to overstep. I am just taking one game at a time and however I can help the team, (my motto is) let’s do it,” he added.

Kishan, whose last appearance for India was in November 2023 during the T20I series against Australia, has been in the centre of a controversy after he requested a break during India’s tour of South Africa in December.

The 25-year-old was not considered for any of the subsequent national assignments, and India head coach Rahul Dravid had underscored the need for Kishan to play domestic cricket to make his comeback.

Along with Shreyas Iyer, Kishan was also not considered for the BCCI central contract for the period between October 2023 to September 2024 as the board took a serious exception to him missing domestic cricket.

Amidst all the turmoil, Kishan said he worked on his cricketing skills.

The Jharkhand man returned to competitive cricket in February when he played for Reserve Bank of India in the DY Patil T20 Cup, besides training with MI skipper Hardik Pandya at a private facility in Baroda. “I was practicing as well as I could,” Kishan replied when asked what he did during his break from cricket.

“I had taken (an) off (time) and when you take an off, a lot of it is gets spoken about on social media,” said Kishan.

“What we can do is that if you have taken time (out) for yourself, use it the best way possible for yourself,” he said.

The effort has shown in this IPL as he is currently the leading run-getter for MI with 161 runs from five matches and his strike-rate upfront — 182.95 — has given his side an early momentum.

However, Kishan did not want to see his performance as a tool to prove a point to his detractors.

“There is nothing like that (that) I want to prove to someone. I just have to go there and enjoy.

“I have learned that you do not have to add pressure on yourself about these things which are not in your hand. You have to figure out what are (your) controllables and what are (your) uncontrollables,” he said.

Kishan said he has worked on his mindset in this interim, helping him to become a stronger individual.

“This is where getting a good mindset works. The Ishan Kishan of the past would not have left the balls alone if the bowling was good in the first two overs.

“But with time I have learned that a 20-over game is also very long and you can take your time and move forward while keeping the belief in yourself,” he said.

Kishan said empathy was one of the qualities that he looked to develop within him, and put it in perspective through MI’s faltering beginning to this IPL.

“These were the few things which helped me in the period and even now. We (MI) lost (a few) matches but most of the players were keen to work with the rest.

“It was never about us performing well individually and not knowing what other players are going through,” he said.

Of course, Kishan would know that too well as he has been in that shoe a short while back.

“I also know when someone is not doing well, how they feel like. I also felt it changed for me, that if someone is not doing well then let’s talk to them and find their mindset. I think all these changes have helped me after the break,” he added.

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