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Pant, Kuldeep in squad for 3 Tests
Rishabh Pant has a highest score of 308 in first class cricket, in which he averages 54.16 with a high scoring rate of 98.54 runs every 100 balls. File photo

Pant, Kuldeep in squad for 3 Tests

Rohit ignored, Bhuvneshwar out due to back trouble, Shami returns to lead the pace attack19 Jul 2018 | 2:11 AM

DEHRADUN/CHANDIGARH:Uttarakhand-born Rishabh Pant has come closer to getting a Test cap after he was picked up for the first three matches of the five-Test series against England, which begins on August 1.

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Tribune News Service

Dehradun/Chandigarh, July 18

Uttarakhand-born Rishabh Pant has come closer to getting a Test cap after he was picked up for the first three matches of the five-Test series against England, which begins on August 1. 

Left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who has picked up 14 wickets in five matches during the ongoing tour of the UK, has also been included in India’s 18-man squad for the first three Tests.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Pant will be a back-up for Dinesh Karthik, who himself is in the team due to an injury to Wriddhiman Saha, the regular wicketkeeper.

The 20-year-old Pant was born in Roorkee but had to shift base to Delhi as Uttarakhand’s cricketing bodies were not recognised by the Indian cricket board (BCCI). The Uttarakhand cricket team will figure in the Ranjit Trophy for the first in the forthcoming season. Pant, meanwhile, has played first-class cricket for Delhi and found fame playing in the IPL. 

Pant’s family was elated after hearing the news of his maiden selection for the Test squad. “He has been focusing on making a place in the Indian side. We are extremely happy with his selection,” said Saroj Pant, his mother.

His first coach was his father Rajendra Pant, who taught him the fundamentals of the sport. Rajendra Pant passed away last year after a cardiac arrest.

Playing for Delhi Daredevils, Pant was the second-highest run-getter in the recently-concluded IPL with 684 runs. He was given two major awards – Stylish Player of the Year and Emerging Player of the Year.

Since he is an aggressive batsman, Pant is often compared with MS Dhoni, who also traces his roots to Uttarakhand — Dhoni’s father moved to Ranchi for work. Such comparisons are rejected by his mother, though. “My son will come up on his own and will make a mark on his own terms,” she said.

Good form

Pant has a highest score of 308 in first class cricket, in which he averages 54.16 with a high scoring rate of 98.54 runs every 100 balls. He is currently part of the India A team touring England. He had scores of 13, 64, 18*, 7, 5, and 64* in limited-overs matches against England Lions and West Indies A. In the second unofficial Test against West Indies A at Taunton earlier this month, he smashed 67 not out off 71 balls to help India A to victory. Against England Lions in another unofficial Test being played at Worcester, today he made 58 out of India A’s total of 197 all out.

Rohit ignored, Bhuvi blow

Rohit Sharma, who made two 100s against England in the T20I and ODI series, was not picked up for the first three Tests against England. Karun Nair, currently leading the India A team in England, has been preferred to Rohit, whose last Test was against South Africa in January. 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who aggravated lower-back stiffness during the third and final ODI against England yesterday, will miss the initial part of the series. “Bhuvneshwar Kumar aggravated a lower back condition in the 3rd ODI against England,” a BCCI statement said. “His condition is being assessed by the BCCI medical team and a call on his inclusion in the Test squad will be made soon.”

Jasprit Bumrah, who suffered a broken thumb on the Ireland leg of the UK tour, has been included in the India squad, though he will be fit only from the second Test onward. Mohammed Shami, who has been dogged by personal problems, has made a comeback into the Test squad. Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur are the other pace bowlers in the squad.

Why was Bhuvi played in final ODI?

Why was Bhuvneshwar included in the team for the third ODI against England if he had been suffering from a stiff back? The paceman has been having back trouble right from the start of the IPL; it’s understandable for an IPL team to make him bowl despite the injury, because their focus is on winning rather than nurturing a player long-term; but the Indian team management should have taken better care of Bhuvneshwar. Remember, Bhuvneshwar was a key performer for India on their last Test tour of England in 2014 — he was the team’s top wicket-taker with 19 wickets in five Tests, ahead of Ishant Sharma (14). The next best by pacers was five wickets each by Varun Aaron and Mohammed Shami. “If you look at IPL, Bhuvi missed five out of 17 games for Sunrisers. BCCI had asked the franchise to look after his workload management,” a BCCI official said. “Then he was rested for Afghanistan Test so that he gets time to recover for UK tour. But it seems something is amiss and that’s quite baffling.”

Squad

Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.

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In Brief

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18 Jul 2018 | 7:52 PM

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Briefly

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