Ishan Kishan took the pressure off Virat Kohli in India win, says Mike Atherton

Virat Kohli was helped by the aggression of debutant Ishan Kishan in India’s comprehensive win over England in the second T20 international, says Mike Atherton.

The pair put on 94 for the second wicket as India cruised to a seven-wicket win in Ahmedabad, Kishan making a 32-ball 56 and Kohli finishing unbeaten on 73.

For the India captain, it was a welcome return to form after three ducks in his previous five innings and Atherton believes Kishan played his part.

  • Virat Kohli, Ishan Kishan lead India to series-levelling win
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Asked if Kishan had taken some of the pressure off Kohli, the former England skipper said: “Definitely. I think Virat felt under a little bit of pressure in that first game because of what he’d said in the press conference about India playing a slightly more aggressive game.

“The problem in that first game, with the line-up that India had was that they had quite a lot of similar players in the top-order and I think Kohli felt pressured – ‘I’ve talked the talk, let’s walk it now’ and it’s not really his game.

“He’s an elite player and scores very quickly but not like a (Rishabh) Pant or, indeed, an Ishan Kishan. So when that young man came in and played the way that he did, I think that just allowed Kohli to come in and play his natural game.

“He’s very much in his comfort zone, he’s not playing the type of shot he got out to the other day, where he is backing away and trying to manufacture something, he’s just playing a more orthodox type of innings for him, even though he’s still striking quickly and getting those fast hands through the ball in those legside shots that he plays so well.


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“I definitely felt this was a more Kohli-like performance than in the first game.”

Kishan batted fearlessly in his first international match and Sky Sports pundit Rob Key thinks the 22-year-old left-hander gives India’s batting order a new dimension.

“I think it was an important change for them,” he said. “It’s easy to say that because Kishan got fifty but when someone plays in that manner, someone who is a real dasher, that allows everyone else to play their way.

“Rohit (Sharma) and (KL) Rahul are great players but they play in a similar way to Kohli. Kishan added some more dynamism to this batting line-up.”

Kohli himself was impressed by the youngster, adding: “Credit to Ishan, he changed the game completely and totally took the game away from the opposition. He is a fearless cricketer and should continue to back his instincts.”

Watch the third T20I between India and England from 1pm, Tuesday on Sky Sports Cricket.

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