India's Ishan Kishan plays a shot
Ishan Kishan Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: Indian wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan opted out of the South Africa tour because of “mental fatigue” due to constant travel with the Indian team, said a report.

The Indian Express on Friday reported that Kishan requested the Indian team management last week in South Africa to let him take a break as he had been travelling non-stop for the past one year.

The team management spoke to the selectors who agreed to Kishan’s request.

“He informed the team management that he is having mental fatigue and wants a break from cricket for some time. Everyone agreed to it,” quoted Indian Express.

Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued a press release where it cited ‘personal reasons’ for Kishan opting out of the upcoming Test series.

"Ishan Kishan has requested the BCCI to be released from the upcoming Test series against South Africa citing personal reasons. The wicket-keeper has subsequently been withdrawn from the Test squad. The Men’s Selection Committee has named Mr KS Bharat as a replacement,” said the BCCI in its statement.

Since January 3, 2023, Kishan has been an integral part of every Indian squad, crisscrossing the globe, yet finding limited playing opportunities.

The journey began with the Sri Lanka series in early January, featuring three T20Is and as many ODIs. Subsequent series against New Zealand and Australia at home followed, where Kishan's role evolved as he opened the innings in the initial matches of the 50-over World Cup. However, the return of Shubman Gill and KL Rahul's role behind the stumps led to Kishan warming the bench.

Undeterred, Kishan showcased his prowess in the T20I series against Australia, delivering two impactful half-centuries. Despite the strong performances, the South Africa tour saw the team management favoring Jitesh Sharma over him in the T20Is.

The grueling schedule continued, with Kishan part of the intra-day squad and the Test squad in South Africa. However, facing the prospect of more time on the bench, he took the courageous decision to step back temporarily, citing the toll on his mental and physical well-being.

The Indian cricket board's tightly packed calendar contributed to Kishan's marathon journey. From the home series against Australia to a full IPL season with Mumbai Indians, his commitment was unwavering. The selection committee then whisked him away to England for the World Test Championship final as the second wicketkeeper, followed by a challenging West Indies tour that spanned Tests, ODIs, and T20Is.

As if that weren't enough, Kishan's cricketing odyssey continued with a swift transition to the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and a three-ODI series against Australia, just preceding the World Cup. The unrelenting schedule, combined with limited playing opportunities, prompted the talented cricketer to pause and prioritize his mental and physical well-being.