KOLKATA: Former India player Saba Karim has many things in common with young wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan. Both hail from Patna and have similar playing roles.
But anyone will hope that the similarity between them ends here and the flamboyant youngster, who is in the squad for World Test Championship (WTC) Final hoping to make his India debut in whites, does not share with Karim the kind of short international career the latter had due to a serious eye injury while keeping to Anil Kumble.
Kishan – in the WTC Final squad as a replacement for injured KL Rahul – also had a scare when he injured his eye following a freak collision with teammate Chris Jordan in the IPL Qualifier 2. But the southpaw has recovered well in time and is seen whacking in the practice sessions in England ahead of the WTC Final.
“Yeah, that was a freak injury, but these things do happen on a cricket field. It’s good that he’s fit now and is practising hard in England with teammates. I wish him all the best,” Karim told TOI on Thursday.

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About Kishan’s possibility of playing in the WTC Final, the former India selector feels Kishan has to wait for his chances. “I don’t think at this stage they will want to play Ishan Kishan. I think they will persist with KS Bharat, since he has kept wicket for India in the (last) home series (against Australia in Feb-March earlier this year). The kind of security Rahul Dravid and Rohit (Sharma) want to give to the players I think they will continue with Bharat,” opined Karim.
Asked if Kishan’s flamboyance as a batter could prove to be the x-factor much like the first-choice India ’keeper in all formats Rishabh Pant, who’s recovering from a car accident suffered on December 30 last year, Karim further said, “If they had played Ishan in the home series, I think he could have a chance but since they haven’t done that I don’t think they will take the chance in a crucial game like this and play him straight away. Moreover, x-factor comes into focus if the other players also perform, and everything has to be balanced for us to win the crucial match.”
However, Karim feels that being part of this squad will be a great learning curve for the youngster.

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“I think this will be a great learning experience for him. He should absorb as much as he can from seeing his teammates and the opponents, and also from the interactions. Test cricket is a different ball game and there’s so much to learn even if you are not part of the playing XI.
“His time will come and though he’s looked at mainly as a white-ball cricketer now, I think he’s played well in Ranji Trophy for some time now and will be a good choice for red-ball cricket in near future,” Karim signed off.

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