Rishab Pant might earn his national cap in the third test, says Sunil Gavaskar

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Rishab Pant might earn his national cap in the third test, says Sunil Gavaskar

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SportsCafe Desk


Sunil Gavaskar has predicted Rishab Pant to earn his first Test national cap in the third Test of India's tour of England, which is scheduled at Trent bridge, after an underwhelming display by Dinesh Karthik at Lord's. Gavaskar also believes that Pant’s IPL stint has impressed the selectors.

The 20-year-old cricketer from Delhi was first named in India's squad for 2016 U-19 Cricket world cup back in December 2015, and he repaid the selectors' faith by hitting a century in the tournament, guiding India into the semi-finals. Among his other career highlights remained an 18-ball-fifty in the same tournament and eventually, he was picked by Delhi Daredevils for 1.9 crores in 2016.

Pant was scintillating in 2018 IPL, smashing 684 runs in the league with a staggering strike rate of 173.6 to end as the second-highest run-getter and consequently, earned his maiden call-up to the Test team for the five-match series against England. Gavaskar has been mightly impressed by Pant's progress and has spoken highly of Pant, stating that the youngster might be seeing a spot in India's starting eleven for the third Test match in Nottingham. The former cricketer also felt that Pant’s performances in the past, whether IPL or other matches have impressed the selectors that led to this decision. 

“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,” Gavaskar quoted.

Gavaskar also stated that the exposure Pant got while traveling with the senior team and sharing the dressing room with them could have a major impact on him and 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,” Gavaskar said. 

Even though the results of the first Test between India and England were not in India's favours, Gavaskar has still been of the opinion that there is still good quality cricket left in team India which might yield better results for the upcoming matches. 

“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. 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,” Gavaskar concluded.

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