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India's Pant ready for red ball transition in England

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India's Pant ready for red ball transition in England

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By Amlan Chakraborty

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's Rishabh Pant has grown a nice little reputation as a batsman who can whack the white ball pretty hard and the 20-year-old reckons he would need only minor adjustments to his technique to excel in test matches in England.

The Delhi stumper-batsman's maiden test call-up was a reward for his four fifties in five innings for India A in the United Kingdom.

In absence of the preferred Wriddhiman Saha, who missed the tour with a shoulder injury, Pant and Dinesh Karthik will vie for the wicketkeeper's role when the five-match series gets underway on Aug. 1 in Birmingham.

While Karthik's experience might eventually clinch it for the 33-year-old, Pant says he is ready to step up.

"There isn't too much difference between white ball and red ball cricket," the happy-go-lucky cricketer, who has played four Twenty20 Internationals for India but is yet to debut in tests or ODIs, told the Indian cricket board http://www.bcci.tv website.

"There is very little difference, like you have to be more selective with your shots. With the field placement (in tests), you can take your time because you have five days to play..."

Following his India A outings, Pant feels he now has a better understanding of the English conditions and the swinging Duke balls, which would test the technique of India's batsmen, who are unaccustomed to exaggerated movement of the ball.

Pant is trying to add another gear to his natural swashbuckling batting and India A coach Rahul Dravid has no doubt that the youngster can bat according to the demand of the long format.

"On this (United Kingdom) trip, we challenged him a lot to bat according to the situation," former India captain Dravid told the board's website earlier this week.

"He showed that he could bat differently. He has the temperament and skills to bat differently. He is always going to be an attacking player but reading of the situation when you are playing red ball cricket is required."

Pant said he had heeded the suggestions from one of India's former test stalwarts.

"He always tells me 'you need to be patient about everything, whatever you do off the field or on the field. Also, you need to work harder on your red ball game'," Pant said.

"I'm a positive batsman, but at times you have to play to the situation also. He wanted me to learn how to play according to situation, because every time you can't play at the same pace."

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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