Rohit Sharma explains warning gesture to Ishan Kishan before declaration in Dominica Test
Strange glimpse of Rohit Sharma sending a warning to debutant Ishan Kishan from the Indian dugout before ultimately deciding to declare the first-innings on Day 3 of the Dominica Test took many by surprise. The Indian skipper stepped outside of the shed and gestured to his debutant wicketkeeper-batter that the declaration is imminent and he must buckle up.
Kishan, who was notably sent to bat No.7 after India grinded the West Indies bowlers through for 145.2 overs to take a winning lead of 271, could play only 20 deliveries in the middle after waiting painstakingly long for his turn. Rohit told him to get off the mark quickly as he wanted to declare.
The Indian captain explained his rationale was to let Kishan know that he doesn't have long to get on board at the Test level and the team is eyeing a quick change of innings to put the hapless Caribbean batting unit under extreme pressure in the session and a half remaining on Friday (July 14).
As it panned out, it was the only innings Kishan got the chance to play on his Test debut as he got more of an opportunity to impress the team management from behind the stumps, where, although largely unconvincing, he took a few great catches during the three-day Test.
Rohit explains declaration gesture to Kishan
Speaking about the declaration and his gesture prior to it for Kishan, Rohit Sharma said he wanted his debutant to get off the mark in the longest format after he played a shockingly intentless 20-ball knock when India were eyeing quick runs before calling the innings off.
Moments after Rohit's signal, Kishan finally got off strike with a push to the on-side against Alzarri Joseph. The left-hander then started walking off with allrounder Ravindra Jadeja alongside him to confirm the innings has been formally declared.
"I was just letting them know that we probably have an over or so and then we're declaring. I just wanted Ishan to get off the mark, because he had probably played close to 15-20 balls without getting off the mark, so I wanted to tell him, get your first runs in Test cricket and then we have to declare," Rohit said.
"I can understand, playing your first Test match, you have a lot of nerves going around, and I could see, he was sitting there in the dressing room, entire [second] day, wanting to go out to bat, so I know the feeling, but I was just letting him know that we probably have an over or two and then we're going to declare."
Rohit's explanation, however, would do little to justify India almost rushing the innings past Kishan, who could've done with a greater opportunity to bed into the Test match format. Having been identified as a replacement for KS Bharat,and backup to Rishabh Pant with a Test series in South Africa looming, India wouldn't know much of Kishan if he held a minimal presence with the bat in hand in the next Test in Trinidad.