'There's no fielder there, hit Archer for a six': India youngster recalls Kohli's words on debut; 'I hit him for a four'
Jofra Archer is tall, is a fast bowler, is one of the best in the world in white-ball cricket and is immensely threatening with the new ball. Now imagine facing a bowler of his stature on your international debut. Would you imagine hitting a boundary in the first ball you face against him? Well, young Ishan Kishan had dared on his first match for India and he ended up getting a boundary, but he credited the effort to then India skipper Virat Kohli and here's why.
It was against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad in March 2021 when Ishan was picked in the T20I playing XI for India. The team lost KL Rahul in the first over and Ishan was joined by Kohli.
While Archer geared up to take on Ishan, Kohli had a word of advice for the youngster. The England speedster dished out a length ball and Ishan tucked it behind, towards fine leg, for a boundary.
Recalling the conversation during his chat with Gaurav Kapur on 'Breakfast with Champions', Ishan said that Kohli had advised him to hit a six against Archer, and while he was scared given the bowler's ability in T20 cricket, he was inspired by the manner in which the 33-year-old had said it to him.
"I opened with KL [Rahul] bhai when he got out Kohli bhai came. So when I was facing my first ball he was there. The first thing he said to me when [Jofra] Archer was bowling, 'look, there is no fielder there, hit him for a six.' I said, 'Umm, that's Archer.'"
"But the way he said it, I felt he was right. I should smash Archer, that's the zone I entered. And I got a boundary off the first ball. I was just happy about that, international first boundary Archer," he said.
Ishan eventually pulled off a 32-ball 56 laced with five boundaries and 4 sixes while Kohli was unbeaten on 73 as India won by seven wickets.
Ishan had kicked off his ODI career in the same manner, hitting a six and a four in his first two balls on debut in the format against Sri Lanka later in July.
"Before going out, I had said the first ball is going to be a six. People think that it's the first ball in international cricket, so let’s play it safe. But, I was thinking, time's have changed and it got to big. Then the next ball I hit for four. Shikhar Dhawan came up and said 'bro, what's the plan?' I just said I'm seeing the ball and hitting it," he said.