ENG v IND 2018: "MS Dhoni's wicket-keeping mantra helped me a lot," says Rishabh Pant after his Test call-up

Pant has played some fine knocks for India A against England Lions lately.

Rishabh Pant | GETTY

Rishabh Pant is delighted after being included in the Indian Test side for the first time. It's a learning period for the youngster before he actually becomes an integral part of Indian team. Pant has played four T20Is in the blue jersey and his experience has been quite good, he revealed. 

Talking about how supportive Indian dressing room is, he said, "Every time I come to the Indian dressing room, there is one thing that has always stood out for me -- it is the positivity in the dressing room. Everyone is supporting and backing each other, which is the most important factor about this Indian dressing room."

Pant added that MS Dhoni has always guided him and his small inputs have been very helpful in improving his game. "Similarly, with Mahi bhai, I used to ask him everything from my IPL contract to my wicket-keeping. He's advised me on everything.

"He's always told me that when it comes to wicket-keeping, your hands and head is important, the body balance can come into play later, but the key is the hands and head coordination. I worked on what he told me and it has helped me a lot," the southpaw said.

Pant got his maiden call for Test side after a good performance for India A side against England Lions. He was picked as the backup keeper over the experienced Parthiv Patel. The wicket-keeper batsmen got a couple of half-centuries in the last game against England Lions which India lost.

"It was a great feeling to hear that I had been included in the Indian Test squad. I always wanted to be a part of the Indian Test squad and it was more like a dream come true for me. It was an amazing feeling, not only for me but also for my family and my coach Tarek Sinha sir, who helped me understand the game very early in my life. He has always wanted me to play Test cricket for India and when I got the call, he was very happy and proud and I enjoyed that moment," he told bcci.tv.

It isn't easy for an attacking batsman like Pant to adjust in the red ball cricket. But the 20-year-old said the game is all about mindset and he worked on it to adopt the different gameplay.

"I reckon there isn't too much difference, but it has got more to do with shot selection. In red ball cricket, with the field placements, you can look around; take your time, because you have five days to play. Whereas in limited overs cricket you have limited number of balls to play and score.

"I have so far enjoyed my preparation with red ball cricket. The Duke ball swings a lot when you're here in England and initially when I started playing here with India A, I realized that the swing will come a lot into play in these conditions," Pant said.

Words of Rahul Dravid, India A coach, for the Delhi cricketer has been full of praises. While talking about Pant, Dravid had said he wants him to play according to the situation, despite being an attacking batsman. 

Talking about the words of the former India captain, he said, "The only thing he always tells me is that you need to be patient about everything, be it on the field or off it. Also, how I need to work harder on my game when it comes to red ball cricket since I'm a positive batsman, but at times you need to play to the situation. See the pace of the game and change your game accordingly. These have been my learning from him wherein he has helped me a lot."

Pant has let the words of Dravid get inside his mind. Already having played in England's condition, the left-hander said he would like to be patient before going for his natural game if given chance in India's Test XI. 

"Whenever I walk into bat, I go with the mindset of what the team needs from me. In the game against West Indies A, there was a situation wherein I had to be more patient because there were enough overs and therefore I took my time and got India home.

"Also, in the game against England Lions, India A were not in a good position. We had lost four to five wickets and Ajju bhaiya (Ajinkya Rahane) and I were batting and I had to play according to the situation. So, I thought I'm going to take my own time and get set because in red ball cricket that's what you do - you need to take your own time and play as per the situation."


By Sihyeu Singh - 24 Jul, 2018

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