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India vs England: Sunil Gavaskar feels Rishabh Pant in line for Test debut in Nottingham

Rishabh Pant, who had been in a scintillating form in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has earned his maiden call-up to the Test team for the five-match series against England.

cricket Updated: Aug 11, 2018 09:16 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs England,Sunil Gavaskar,Rishabh Pant
India's Rishabh Pant attends a training session at Lord's Cricket Ground in London on August 8, 2018, ahead of the second Test cricket match between England and India. (AFP)

Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar heaped praise on wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant, stating that the 20-year-old finds himself in a terrific scenario given that regular keeper Wriddhiman Saha is out injured and Dinesh Karthik is yet to perform to cement a spot in the side.

Sticking his neck out in suggesting that the youngster might earn his national cap in the third Test at Nottingham, Gavaskar stated: “It is an opportunity for sure and, perhaps, maybe for the third Test he might get into the team. In fact, he might get in the team as a batsman down the order rather than as wicket-keeper.

“He’s certainly in the frame. The fact that he was chosen ahead of everybody else to come, at the moment that Saha was declared unfit, just tells you about the thinking of the selection committee and team management.”

Pant, who had been in a scintillating form in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has earned his maiden call-up to the Test team for the five-match series against England.

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Pant had smashed 684 runs in the IPL at a staggering strike rate of 173.6 to end as the second-highest run-getter. Although he’s represented India in four T20Is, Pant is yet to feature in an ODI or a Test match.

Gavaskar feels the exposure of sharing the dressing room with senior members of the squad should help him understand his role in the team.

“The fact that he has now spent two weeks with the senior team in the dressing room would have given him a feel of expectations because there are different expectations. I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for him. How he grabs it is entirely up to him,” added Gavaskar.

India, already 0-1 down in the series, are in a precarious position in the second Test having been dismissed for 107 in the first innings.

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But Gavaskar wasn’t too bothered. Although he reiterated that the first Test could have swung in India’s favour, he was hopeful that there’s still quite a bit of cricket left in the series for India to pose a comeback.

“I do believe that they have the opportunity here because this is a five-Test series and you can always come back. Even if you are two down, you can still come back. India have traditionally been slow starters overseas,” he added.

“In the third Test (in South Africa) we came back, but if it had been a five Test series, we could have won the fourth and fifth as well. That’s the big plus as far as this tour is concerned, that the Indian team will get an opportunity to come back and may be even win this series.”

First Published: Aug 11, 2018 08:53 IST