When India’s senior selection committee announced the squad for the first three Tests against England on Wednesday (July 18), there was one notable inclusion in the list.
Rishabh Pant, who has impressed one and all with his stellar performances in domestic cricket and for India ‘A’, was picked in the 18-member squad as a backup keeper to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
Pant recently toured England with the India ‘A’ team featuring in the triangular One-Day series against England Lions and West Indies ‘A’. Subsequently, the southpaw played in red-ball cricket against both the teams. India ‘A’ coach Rahul Dravid on Sunday (July 22) talked about Rishabh's showing under him in an interview with bcci.tv.
“Rishabh was quite excellent on the tour. He is obviously a very talented player. He showed in three or four innings that he was willing to bat differently. We all know the way he bats. Even in the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season when he got over to 900 runs his S/R was 100 plus and we have seen him bat similarly in the IPL as well,” Dravid quoted.
“On this trip, we challenged him a lot to bat according to the situation. He got a critical 64 (not out) in the one-day final when he was the last recognized batsman and also against West Indies A when he put on a 100-run partnership with Jayant Yadav,” he added.
Pant’s stocks as a limited-overs batsman have gone a notch above in IPL 2018. Despite Delhi Daredevils poor showing this season, Pant finished the campaign as the second highest run-scorer with 684 runs in 14 innings including 1 century and 5 fifties.
Considering his prowess across all formats in recent times, Dravid reckons that Pant has the temperament and skills to adapt in Test cricket.
“He showed that he could bat differently. He has the temperament and skills to bat differently. He is always going to be an attacking player but reading of the situation when you are playing red ball cricket is required. We are glad he has been picked in the national team and I hope he takes this maturity into the national team and hopefully builds from thereon,” he concluded.
The highly-anticipated Test series between India and England will commence on August 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Lord’s (Aug 09-Aug 13) will host the second Test while Trent Bridge (Aug 18-Aug 22), Rose Bowl (Aug 30-Sep 03) and The Oval (Sep 07-Sep 11) will stage the third, fourth and fifth Test respectively.
India squad for first three Tests against England:
Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Rishabh Pant, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.