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India vs England 3rd Test: Gautam Gambhir backs Dinesh Karthik ahead of Rishabh Pant

The most awaited change for Team India will be 20-year-old Rishabh Pant's imminent Test debut replacing a horribly out-of-form Karthik, who might well have played his last international game in the longest format.

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Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has backed Dinesh Karthik to retain his place in the Indian team for the third Test against England, starting Saturday in Nottingham.

The most awaited change for Team India will be 20-year-old Rishabh Pant's imminent Test debut replacing a horribly out-of-form Karthik, who might well have played his last international game in the longest format.

With scores of 0, 20, 1 & 0 in four innings coupled with shoddy glovework meant that Karthik was seen giving catching practice to Pant, who also spend considerable time batting at the nets.

 

Gambhir, however, feels it'll be unfair to drop Karthik at this point. "There will always be a temptation (to play Pant). I still feel that Karthik is at that stage of his career, it’s now or never. So you got to always give someone an extra Test match than one lesser. People would be expecting for him to deliver with the amount of comebacks he’s made but those conditions are tough,” he was quoted as saying by Times of India.

“If you don’t give him an opportunity in the next Test match or one more after that, we might never see him again. Rishabh can wait. He has a lot of years ahead of him. Because six innings, to be honest, can give you a better idea where the batter is," added Gambhir.

 

Being hailed as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's successor, Pant's entry into the squad happened after three half-centuries in the two first-class matches against England Lions.

Despite a triple hundred and a healthy first-class average of 54 plus, it will still be baptism by fire for the Roorkee-born youngster. He will be facing Messrs Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran, ready to make life miserable for him just like they have done with his illustrious seniors.

If Pant's Test debut has generated a lot of interest, there is a prayer on every fan's lips that skipper Kohli gets fit enough to wield the willow.

 

It is the impact of the last defeat in swing-friendly conditions across just over six sessions that is still hurting the Indian camp. Throughout the week, they have been left picking up the pieces, mostly in terms of re-evaluating fitness of their key players.

(Inputs from PTI)

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