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Life is not the same for Rishabh Pant after his splendid century at the Oval. A Delhi boy, who was clubbed as a specialist in limited overs cricket by many, has shut his critics up with that century against a quality English bowling attack. In a recent chat with the CrickerSoccer, the wicketkeeper-batsman reveals his next goal, i.e. to get his place cemented in the National test squad.

Here are the excerpts:

CricketSoccer (CS): After your much awaited test debut in England, how are you feeling?

Rishabh Pant (RP): It’s really great to see myself in the test cricket arena. I’m paid for all the hard work I have been doing over the years. Test cricket is a completely different ball game and I’m happy that I was able to leave a mark.

CS: Long since your arrival in Senior cricket, you have always been considered as a very good prospect for limited overs cricket. Can you please share your experience of transforming to a test cricketer?

RP: To be very honest, I never liked this kind of tag. Rather, I must say I never wanted to be tagged as a one day specialist. I believe no Cricketer plays the game to be established in one or two particular format. Everyone wants to play and be successful in all the three formats. So was I. And though it’s just the beginning for me in the arena of test cricket, but I’m happy that I was able to prove a point or two.

CS: Though you gave some bye runs behind the stumps, but the way you keep the spinners in England was praiseworthy. Your thoughts.

RP: I have kept up to senior spinners like Ashwin Bhai (Ravichandran Ashwin) and Jaddu Bhai (Ravinder Jadeja) in the nets apart from the Tests in England. Like Oval strip, where Jaddu bhai was bowling, it felt like an India pitch. The ball was turning and on fourth and fifth day, there were spots. So it was not that easy. Obviously, you will not be happy to see 76 runs in the scoreboard which came as bye runs. Obviously, you can get frustrated as a wicketkeeper. Maybe that was not my fault but if someone is not watching the match, he would look only at the scorecard. Only those who saw the match would know that some of those were out of my reach. So I’m not disheartened.

Another thing I must add. In England, the red Duke ball swings even after leaving the stumps. And Indian pacers are a bit different from English pacers. The pace of our bowlers is more than English seamers. It was difficult to keep Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. But it was a learning experience for me.

CS: What was your approach when came into bat at a difficult situation at the Oval?

RP: My mindset has always been the same for every match that I play. In the first two Tests, I got starts but couldn’t capitalise on those starts. That day, I did the same things but I capitalised on the chances and was a bit more disciplined in my approach. And the result, says it all.

CS: What next? India is going to play a test series with the West Indies at home. Do you see yourself to be a part of the playing XI?

RP: I never put such expectations. But I will prepare myself. Keeping in mind the slow and turning nature of the Indian pitches, I would practice at the National Cricket Academy at Bengaluru where I might get similar kind of pitches. If chances come, I promise I will not let them go without leaving a mark.

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