Rishabh Pant might be preparing for his Test debut based on the training session India had at Trent Bridge two days before the third Test. Dinesh Karthik, who kept wickets for India in the first two Tests, was feeding balls to Pant during the wicketkeeping drills.
It is not sure whether Karthik, if he does miss the Test, would be sitting out due to bad form with the bat or any injury. At Lord’s on the third day, Karthik was seen wincing in pain after he collected a wide delivery from Hardik Pandya. Indian team physio Patrick Farhart attended to Karthik at the end of that over and taped his fingers. Karthik did eventually do some keeping later at training though, indicating that he is fit.
Despite doing a decent job behind the wickets, Karthik has had a miserable time with the bat in both the Tests. Out of the four innings, he had two ducks, and 20 of his 21 runs so far came in the second innings at Edgbaston. What has been worrisome for the team think tank is Karthik’s fraught technique which has resulted in him getting bowled twice and lbw once.
Today at training, Pant batted after all the specialist batsmen had finished their rounds. Does this then mean the swashbuckling batsman, who gained prominence based on his exploits in the limited overs versions, is ready to be blooded?
It was a bold call on part of the selectors to pick Pant in the Test squad. But Pant, who has already played four T20Is for India, showed his readiness during India A’s tour of England. In the two first-class matches he played on the tour, Pant scored a total of 189 runs, at an average of 63 including three half centuries.
Asked if India would hand the Test debut to Pant, head coach Ravi Shastri said it would become clear by the time of the toss on Saturday. “About Rishabh you will know 11am day after,” Shastri said at the media briefing today.
Meanwhile, Kohli had a light training session and batted fluently without any difficulty in the nets, and also did fielding practice. Kohli had picked up a stiff back during the second Test, for which he had required treatment. Kohli admitted that the pain was severe and did not allow him to run with the same intensity on the field and when he came out to bat on the fourth and final day at Lord’s. But the signals are positive that Kohli is likely to be fit to walk out to toss, something England head coach Trever Bayliss, too, pointed out having watched Kohli at training this morning.