However, Kishan is a Patna boy and could not play for Bihar as the state was then barred from playing in Ranji Trophy. In fact, Karthik’s comment did not go down well with the people celebrating outside Ishan Kishan’s residence on Ambedkar Path in Patna.
“People in my society got upset when Ishan was introduced as a Jharkhand cricketer,” Ishan’s father Pramod Kumar Pandey told TOI on Monday.
Kishan’s knock of 56-runs in 36 balls created a sensation and even left his skipper Virat Kohli in awe. “His innings was fearless, but not reckless,” said Kohli while praising the southpaw.
Kishan’s journey started exactly 17 years ago when he accompanied his elder brother Raj Kishan to the Bihar Cricket Academy at the Moin-ul-Haq Cricket Stadium in Patna. Uttam Mazumdar, who was the head coach at the academy, rejected him because of his tender age. Raj insisted that he let him play a few balls otherwise he would start crying.
“He was so small that we didn’t have a pad of his size. I threw a couple of balls to him and he kept smashing them with a straight bat. I thanked God for giving me a chance to coach this prodigy,” recollected Mazumdar.
In the evening, when Pramod came on his scooter to pick his sons, Mazumdar told him that to go find a proper kit for his son. “‘Your son is gifted, and I am sure he will play for India’. When Mazumdar sir told me this, I thought he was joking, but the next day he came to my house in the morning and said, let’s go and get a kit for Ishan,” recalled Pramod.
A couple of years later, at the age of seven, Kishan was selected for the Bihar U-16 team to play in School Games Federation of India’s tournament (SGFI). He didn’t get any match to play due to his short stature, but two years down the line, he became the Bihar U-16 cricket team captain.
“He was a boy wonder. He used to smash fast bowlers double his age at the tender age of 10. I vividly remember, there used to be a fan following of him at the Moin-ul-Haq. Around 80 to 90 people used to visit the academy only to see him bat,” said Mazumdar.
All was going well until 2009 when Mazumdar moved to Noida as his father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Before leaving Patna, Mazumdar called up his friends in the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) in Ranchi and got Kishan enrolled in the academy there.
“We had no other option. There was no future in Bihar because of the petty politics. It was difficult for us as parents because he was so young and had never been away from home. But Mazumdar sir kept insisting that we send Ishan to Ranchi,” said Pramod.
The 12-year-old Ishan was shifted to a two-room quarter in Doranda, Ranchi. He shared the flat with three others, who were twice his age. “They used to cook food and Ishan, who had no clue about cooking, was given the job to clean the utensils,” said Pramod.
“There was numerous occasion when he used to be by himself in the flat. So he learned how to cook Maggi, and that used to be his dinner. In the morning, before going for practice, he used to drink sattu, while chips and soft drinks became his lunch. He shared these things with us when he became the captain of the India U-19 World Cup team in 2016,” said an emotional Pramod.
Kishan dedicated his innings against England to his coach’s father, who passed away on March 4. “My father was very close to Ishan. They shared a bond over fish, so whenever Ishan would visit us, my father would tell me, ‘ Ishan aaya hai, aaj machli banwao iske liye (Ishan is here, let’s cook fish for him today),” said Mazumdar.
“The last time I saw my father smile was when he was video chatting with Ishan after he scored a 173 off just 94 balls against Madhya Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He told him, “Ishu 2021 will belong to you’,” he added.
Well, he has certainly made an emphatic beginning on the international stage.