IPL memories: Sai Kishore – Spinning into the spotlight - The IPL 2023

IPL memories: Sai Kishore – Spinning into the spotlight


Agile and athletic, R. Sai Kishore has been one of the masterminds of Tamil Nadu’s recent white-ball success. The lanky Sai Kishore has won back-to-back IPL titles with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Gujarat Titans (GT).

The dedication and usefulness that the 27-year-old bowler brings to the pitch sparked debate among fans as to whether CSK should have given him a game over the three seasons, he was part of its squad. “Although I did not get a game during my three seasons with CSK, the Rs 20 lakh contract made a big difference. Before that, I had to pay for kits and training from my pocket. After I joined CSK, all that was taken care of. I was able to focus entirely on the game and not worry about the finances,†Sai Kishore had told Sportstar earlier.

Nevertheless, the Titans signed him at the IPL mega auction in 2022 for a whopping Rs 3 crore, 15 times his base price of Rs 20 lakh.

His frugal left-arm spin ultimately proved to be the ideal foil to Rashid Khan in the Titans set-up, with Kishore’s six wickets in five matches at an economy rate of under eight proving crucial in GT’s title run in 2022. However, he did not play a single game in 2023.

Recently, Sai Kishore, having taken over Tamil Nadu's full-time captaincy in this Ranji Trophy season, led the team to its first Ranji Trophy semifinal since 2016–17. He even made his international debut last year during the first quarterfinal against Nepal at the Hangzhou Asian Games, snapping up one wicket for 25 runs in his four overs.

Sai Kishore's few charms lie in the background, not center stage, like when he couldn't be spotted with his jubilant teammates on the top tier during GT's open-top bus parade in 2022 because “I am a little shy, so I didn't go up (smiles).â€

One of the fascinations of IPL is that it is simultaneously intensely local and utterly globalised, with all the high-octane action it brings. And this T20 extravaganza has put an otherwise soft-spoken Sai Kishore front and center of GT's attack and Indian cricket's assembly line of talent.


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