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India vs England: Rishabh Pant to play in the first test, confirms Kohli


Rishabh Pant will keep wickets for India in the first test match against England, confirmed India captain Virat Kohli. Image: Xtra Time

Xtra Time Web Desk: Indian captain Virat Kohli on Thursday cleared the dilemma as who will keep the wickets in the first test against England at Chennai starting Friday. Kohli confirmed that Rishabh Pant will be first choice wicket keeper after his heroics at Gabba. Pant’s batting in Australia influenced the team management to pick him ahead of Wriddhiman Saha who is far more superior with the gloves.

“Yes, Rishabh (Pant) will start tomorrow. He had a massive impact in Australia and is in a good head space and we want to continue with him. He’s come along nicely after the IPL and he’s worked hard in his fitness and his game. We were very happy to see him flourish,” Kohli said in the virtual pre-match press conference .

Pant’s belligerence (89 not out) in the last Test in Brisbane propelled his team to an incredible 2-1 series win over Australia recently, coming days after he nearly saw India home with a fine 97 in the third match in Sydney.

And the Indian skipper is highly impressed with Pant’s showings.

“There is good reason what he did in Australia gives all of us hope going ahead.”

Pant grabbed the opportunity with both hands after Saha’s twin failures in India’s humiliating defeat in the first Test in Adelaide.

Giving an indication into the combination India might prefer in the upcoming matches against England, considered as one of the world’s most balanced sides, Kohli said, “The focus will be on bowlers who can also bat.”

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