Ishan smashed a 32-ball 56 on his first international outing and stitched a 94-run stand for the second wicket with Kohli (73 not out off 49 balls) to hand India a series-levelling seven-wicket win in the second T20 here on Sunday night.
Atherton said Kishan’s fluent batting helped in taking some pressure off Kohli, who had registered three ducks in his previous five innings.
“I think Virat felt under a little bit of pressure in that first game because of what he’d said in the press conference about India playing a slightly more aggressive game,” the former England skipper told Sky Sports.
“The problem in that first game, with the line-up that India had was that they had quite a lot of similar players in the top-order and I think Kohli felt pressured. ‘I’ve talked the talk, let’s walk it now’ and it’s not really his game.
“He’s (Kohli) an elite player and scores very quickly but not like a (Rishabh) Pant or, indeed, an Ishan Kishan. So when that young man came in and played the way that he did, I think that just allowed Kohli to come in and play his natural game,” he observed.
Atherton said Kohli looked in his comfort zone during his knock on Sunday.
“He’s not playing the type of shot he got out to the other day, where he is backing away and trying to manufacture something. He’s just playing a more orthodox type of innings for him, even though he’s still striking quickly and getting those fast hands through the ball in those leg-side shots that he plays so well,” he said.
“I definitely felt this was a more Kohli-like performance than in the first game.”