Ishan Kishan heading to NCA for S&C work ahead of West Indies tour

Mumbai: India wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan and a few other contracted players will check into the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru next week, for Strength & Conditioning (S&C) related work ahead of the national team’s departure for the Caribbean islands for a full tour against the West Indies.

India will play two Tests, three ODIs and five one-day internationals against the West Indies starting July 12, for which the Rohit Sharma-led team is slated to depart on July 3.

Normally, when there is a gap between two international series, the centrally contracted and targeted players, who are not a part of any domestic tournaments are called at the NCA to have an update on their fitness status.

With the Duleep Trophy scheduled to be held entirely in Bengaluru from June 28 and the final to be played from July 12-16 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, it has already been reported by PTI earlier that Kishan had opted out of the season opening domestic red ball tournament.

With the East Zone taking on the Central Zone in the first quarterfinal at Alur in Bengaluru, the 24-year-old had the opportunity to play one game with the red-ball before the Indian team’s departure for the Caribbean tour.

The one-off game would have given Kishan a chance to push his case for selection in the Test team, especially when the incumbent KS Bharat struggling to make a mark with the bat.

But Kishan, who was being touted as India’s wicketkeeper-batter in the WTC final ahead of Bharat, had a couple of days ago opted out of the Duleep Trophy and his decision certainly raises questions about his desire to play Test cricket, and across formats for India.

However perhaps with no one to challenge his place as second keeper in Test side, Kishan’s decision to opt out is more to do with lack of options.

“Ishan has been a part of the Indian team on a regular basis since last December and took a short break upon arrival from England after the World Test Championship final,” a source close to the cricketer said on Saturday.”He will check into the NCA in the early days of the next week and focus on his training and preparations for the West Indies tour which he is expected to be a part of,” the source added.

As far as workload management is concerned, a theory floated in some corners, if Kishan is not even picked in playing XI for the two Test matches, he will go into the white ball leg without any competitive game time for two months.

For the record, his last competitive match was for Mumbai Indians on May 26 and if he is not selected in playing for Tests, his next game would be ODI series opener against West Indies on July 27 at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.