“A dream come true” is how Rishabh Pant described his maiden call-up to the Indian Test squad for the upcoming five-match series against England.
The 20-year old has made quite a name for his belligerent hitting in the shorter formats of the game and now has a chance to show his prowess in the game’s purest form after being selected as the back-up wicketkeeper to Dinesh Karthik.
“It was a great feeling to hear that I had been included in the Indian Test squad,” Pant told bcci.tv. “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 Tarik 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.”
Pant, who has already turned out for India in four T20Is, has mostly been seen as a shorter-format specialist. In the recently concluded IPL 2018, the left-hander finished as the tournament’s second-highest scorer with 684 runs in 14 games at an incredible strike rate of 173.60.
“There isn’t too much difference (in the change of format), it’s mainly got more to do with shot selection,” Pant said. “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.”
Having already got a feel of the English conditions when turning out for India A against Windies A and England Lions over the past few weeks, Pant is confident he can make a name for himself in the Test arena as well if given a chance.
In fact, in the four-dayer against Windies A, Pant played a big role in the Indians’ come-from-behind win, and followed it up with two half-centuries in the loss to the Lions.
“I have so far enjoyed my preparation with red-ball cricket,” he said. “The Dukes ball swings a lot when you’re here in England and initially when I started playing here with India A, I realised that the swing will come a lot into play in these conditions.
“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.”