Ravi Bishnoi couldn’t have asked for a better India debut as his 2 for 17 in four overs kept the West Indies middle-order in check as India eventually registered a 6-wicket win over the Caribbean side in the first T20 international at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Scorecard | IND Vs WI 1st T20 Highlights)
Ravi Bishnoi also became the first player from the 2020 ICC U-19 World Cup batch to make his way into the senior India national cricket team.
Handed the ball in the eighth over, right-arm leg-spinner Bishnoi was right on the money as Nicholas Pooran and Roston Chase struggled against his wrong 'uns. He conceded just four runs in his first over. The 21-year-old from Rajasthan saved his best for the second over.
Coming in from the High Court End, Bishnoi first trapped Roston Chase LBW, the right-hander failing to read the youngster’s googly in the second ball of the over. Bishnoi picked his second three balls later when Rovman Powell tried to hit the leggie over long-on but holed out to Venkatesh Iyer near the boundary ropes.
Bishnoi’s last two overs yielded 10 runs as he finished with 17 dots and conceded just a boundary.
Earlier, Ravi Bishnoi was handed his maiden India cap by fellow spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. India restricted West Indies 157/7 in 20 overs with Bishnoi's Punjab Kings teammate Pooran top-scoring with 61.
On Expected Lines
Bishnoi’s India debut was on expected lines after he impressed the selectors with his consistent performances in the Indian Premier League for Punjab Kings in the last two seasons. The 21-year-old took 12 wickets in 14 matches on his debut IPL season in 2020.
He followed it up with 12 wickets again in nine matches in IPL 2021. Bishnoi will be playing for Lucknow Super Giants in the upcoming IPL after he was released by the Punjab Kings ahead of the IPL auction 2022. Bishnoi is the 95th T20 International player to debut for India.
Hardships have been a part of Bishnoi since he was a child. In a family where his father was a government school headmaster and mother housewife, cricket was a long shot for Bishnoi. Destiny was on Bishnoi’s side.
With no proper cricket Infrastructure in Jodhpur, old friends Shah Rukh Khan Pathan and Pradyot Singh decided to build an academy to provide a platform for the youngsters. But finances were a constraint.
Not knowing what would be the end result, Bishnoi helped the two in building the stadium by breaking stones and carrying cement. His hard labour did not go waste and Bishnoi’s cricketing journey began formally.
From Rejection To Top
After being rejected in the U-19 trials for Rajasthan twice, Ravi Bishnoi was third time lucky in 2018 and was also called up as a Rajasthan Royals net bowler the same year. He made his T20 debut for Rajasthan in the 2018-19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy before making his List A debut in the 2019-20 Vijay Hazare Trophy.
His good performances in the domestic tournaments reaped rewards as Bishnoi found a place in the India U-19 squad for the World Cup in South Africa in 2020. Although India lost the final against Bangladesh, Bishnoi finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker with 17 wickets.
Bishnoi was in the India squad for the ODI series against West Indies last week but didn’t play a game. India won the series 3-0.
Impressed by his performance, India's white-ball skipper Rohit Sharma, after the game, said: "Bishnoi is a very talented guy which is why we drafted him into the squad straightaway. We see something different in him. He's got a lot of variations and skill-sets with him. He can bowl at any stage and it gives us a lot of options to rotate the other bowlers.
"Very happy with his first game for India and he's got a bright future and it's just about us now on how we use him."