Indian team skipper Virat Kohli has confirmed on the eve of the first Test of the England tour of India that wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant will handle the gloves in the first Test.
Kohli will be returning as the team’s captain for the upcoming Test match between India and England that starts on February 5. He had made himself unavailable for the last three Tests India played against Australia.
In Kohli’s absence, India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane took lead and led the team to the historical win in the four-match Test series in Australia.
Wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant played an instrumental role in the team’s victory by his outstanding job with the bat in the last two Test. However, Pant’s stint with the gloves wasn’t impactful and garnered a lot of criticism since he missed several chances dismissals during the matches. The opening batsman, however, compensated for all of his sloppiness by the work of his bat.
The Indian skipper has backed Pant saying he will handle the responsibility of keeping the wickets in the Test that gets rolling on Friday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
“Rishabh will take the gloves tomorrow. He has had impact performances in Australia recently. He is in good space. We want him to build on this along with him improving all aspects of the game, which will happen with more game time.
“He has come along very nicely. He wasn’t part of white-ball formats, but he kept working hard on his fitness, on his games. We have backed him quite a lot and for good reason – something you saw in Australia.
Pant played an unbeaten knock of 89 runs in the second innings of the final match that helped the team in securing victory. He also played a vital knock of 97 runs in the third Test to bring the match to a draw, aiding in preventing India’s second loss of the series.
“He will continue to be backed. With his hard work, he can be a very very consistent match-winner and someone the opposition will be wary of in the future,” Kohli said heaping praises for the match-winning player of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy final match.
England is set to play four-match Test series against India starting February 5 in Chennai. The first two Tests will be held in Chennai, while the remaining two Test, including the third Test that will be a day-night match, will be played in Gujarat. After the completion of their Test series, the teams will then play three ODIs and five T20Is.