Kolkata: The modest Kishan family residence in Patna, capital of Bihar, must be over the moon after the first day of the IPL 2022 Mega Auction in Bengaluru on Saturday. While there was an air of anticipation that the combination of being a wicketkeeper and explosive batter may see the franchises break the bank for the talented but often inconsistent Ishan Kishan, but it was somewhat beyond expectations that Mumbai Indians would go as far as Rs 15.25 crores ($ 2 million) to make him the highest paid player in the auction so far.
A fee, which overtook that of Shreyas Iyer’s $ 1.62m while the latter was tipped to be the best-paid Indian for his captaincy potential. Kishan’s fee fell short of the Indian record of $2.2m paid to Yuvraj Singh in the 2015 edition of the auction while South Africa’s Chris Morris is the most expensive IPL player ever, selling for $2.23 million last year.
However, the childhood coach of the 23-year-old Kishan says that he is not exactly surprised at his ward’s staggering price tag on a day which saw all the 10 franchises investing heavily into young talent who can serve them well for the next cycle and beyond that. ‘‘The price tag may sound quite tall, but one has to see what he brings to the table. He is not afraid to attack the bowlers in both T20 and the 50-overs formats from the word go and possesses 360 degrees shots. In the limited opportunities that he has had with the Indian team, Ishan has shown his abilities as an opener as well as lower down the order,’’ said Uttam Mazumdar, his childhood coach.
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Speaking to Gulf News over phone, Mazumdar said he was extremely happy at the faith reposed on him by the Mumbai Indians management. ‘‘It’s the collective faith of the MI management, along with their captain Rohit Sharma, which has given him this opportunity. Now that Quinton De Kock is no longer there, Ishan has the dual reponsibility of being a first choice keeper and a top order batter of a successful franchise like MI,’’ said Mazumdar.
‘‘The break with MI is also extremely timely now that there are two World Cups coming up in white ball format. He should grab the opportunity with both hands to cement his place in the Indian squad,’’ he said.
There is a school of thought that the MI may also be eyeing him as a future captaincy material, what with him having led the U19 India in the 2016 World Cup - where the likes of Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar had played under him. ‘‘He is also the captain of Jharkhand state team and believe me, he has an extremely calm head on young shoulders,’’ Mazumdar observed.
Incidentally, Kishan received a thumbs-up from Irfan Pathan, former Indian allrounder and now a TV pundit, regarding his captaincy potential on Saturday. “He has the potential to be the future captain as well, not right now. They still have Keiron Pollard who can lead, Bumrah who is a leader himself, they have Suryakumar Yadav who could be the prospect for leadership as well.
“So, they want to invest for the next 5-7 years, that’s why they went after Ishan Kishan so clearly and they knew that no matter what we needed to go back to Ishan Kishan,” Pathan said in a chat show with the official broadcasters.
“I haven’t seen in the Auction table, Mumbai Indian talking so much and taking a longer break than this in my history of this Auction list,” he added.