Hardik is the junior version of Dhoni: R Sai Kishore | Cricket News



He warmed up the benches in his two seasons with Chennai Super Kings but when R Sai Kishore got the big break through Gujarat Titans in this IPL season, the Tamil Nadu left arm spinner went strong impression. The 25-year-old’s 6 wickets from 5 matches at a save rate of 7.56 for Gujarat showed that Sai Kishore is more than ready for the IPL stage.
Sai Kishore was spot on on his IPL debut against Lucknow Super Giants with numbers of 2-0-7-2. After that match, Gujarat skipper Hardik Pandya remarked, “I rated him quite high as a left arm spinner. He is quite a technical bowler. Due to his size and pace, he shoots a little more ground.”
Interestingly, it was Sai Kishore’s fierce shooting – who captured Quinton de Kock in the cover point area – that first caught the eye. “I was bought for a lot of money (Rs 3 crore) at auction by the Titans. Quinton’s taking eased my nerves a bit. It was important for me to return the faith that the Gujarat Titans have showed in me and I’m happy to have done well in the opportunities I had,” Sai Kishore told TOI. Sai Kishore also thanked his coaches R Prasanna and R Ramkumar for shaping his game over the past few years. “They were key in my growth as a cricketer,” Sai Kishore said.
It’s no surprise that Gujarat Titans saw potential in Sai Kishore, thanks to his exploits in the national T20 circuit. Sai Kishore has shown great form in the last three editions of Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 (SMAT). Not only was he among the wickets, but he got them at a fantastic saving rate. If the 2019 SMAT season saw him take 20 scalps in 12 games at an economy of 4.63, Sai Kishore pocketed 8 wickets in as many games at 4.82 in the next edition of the competition. His great run also continued in SMAT 2021-22 where he took 10 scalps in 8 outings with a saving of 6.06. “Not only on my fitness and skills, I also worked hard on my awareness of the game. I want every one of my 24 deliveries to count in a T20 match,” Sai Kishore stressed.
Although he never got game time with CSK, Sai Kishore felt his time with the team only helped him read the game better. and talking to him about the game did me a lot of good. My game reading skills have improved,” said Sai Kishore. Having been part of a team managed by Dhoni, how did he rate Hardik’s captaincy? “There are a lot of similarities between the two. Just like Dhoni, Hardik has a knack for getting the best out of his players. Both put the team before themselves and that’s what you expect from your leader. I would call Hardik the junior version of Dhoni,” he said.
Being part of Gujarat also gave Sai Kishore the opportunity to play alongside the ever consistent Rashid Khan. “He’s just brilliant at what he does. He’s constantly looking to contribute – whether it’s with the bat or the ball or on the pitch and that’s a skill to have,” said Sai Kishore.
Despite having a memorable season, Sai Kishore will now return to the drawing board. “It’s been a great season, but I feel I can do better. I want to keep improving my game in the months to come,” he said.


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