Virat Kohli, in the pre-match press conference, has revealed that Wriddhiman Saha will have to hold back for an impressive Rishabh Pant to take over the gloves in the first Test against England in Chennai and added that the team management is looking to give him a longer rope this time.
Even though his batting credentials were never in doubt, Rishabh Pant’s frailties behind the stumps were always a cause of concern for the Indian team management in the turning conditions where keeping becomes a pivotal factor. However, the way Pant performed with the bat in Australia, all doubts about keeping were put to rest.
Now, Virat Kohli, who makes a return to the Indian side after paternity leave, has confirmed that Pant will be India’s first-choice keeper at home from now on.
“Rishabh will start. Rishabh will take the gloves tomorrow. He’s had impactful performances in Australia and he’s in a 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 and the more confidence he gains playing those games,” Kohli said in the pre-match press conference on Thursday.
“That’s how we look at Rishabh. He’s come along very nicely after he came to Australia. He wasn’t a part of the white-ball squads but he kept working hard on his fitness and his game and realized the importance of putting in that work. He got his results eventually.”
“All of us were happy to see, because he is someone we have backed quite a lot. He’ll be continued to be backed because he is an impact player. And along with his hard work he can definitely be a consistent match-winner for India, and someone that the opposition would be wary of.”
Kohli on Rahane: We have impeccable chemistry and trust in each other
The lead up to the series has been filled with talks about the contrasting leadership qualities of Rahane and Kohli and how the former is distinctly different from the Delhite. However, Rahane had brushed that off in multiple interviews, speaking about the hierarchy and trust in each other, and Kohli now reiterated the same.
“Things are very different on the outside as compared to what happens inside the changerooms. The fact that Jinx mentioned what he mentioned is because, not just between me and him but between the whole team the camaraderie and the relationship are based on trust and very well knowing that all of us are working together towards one goal – which is to make India win,” Kohli said in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
“I would like to mention that he fulfilled his responsibility in Australia with flying colours. It was amazing to see how he led the team towards victory. Between me and Jinx we’ve always enjoyed batting with each other. Mutual respect and bonding have always been evident. More than on the cricket field, we stay in touch off the field as well. It’s based on trust.”
“On the field, he’s always been someone who has had the capability and space and the capacity to come and give his inputs at different stages of the game. And we do have discussions on the field as to where the game is headed. I do discuss a lot with him on the field to get more clarity and get a different perspective. That’s how we’ve worked together. That is a massive, massive reason for the team’s success in the longest format.”