Keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and Shubman Gill, who were part of the Indian Test squad that are facing Bangladesh in a two-match series, have been released to play for their respective state in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh wicketkeeper K.S. Bharat has been called to Kolkata to join the squad as the second gloveman behind Wriddhiman Saha.
“Rishabh Pant and Shubman Gill have been released from the current Test squad to play the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament for their respective state teams. Andhra’s wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat has joined the Test squad as a replacement,” the BCCI said in a statement.
Bharat has been a regular face for India A in red-ball games and performed consistently for last two seasons. He has scored 3909 runs in 69 first-class matches with eight hundreds, 20 half-centuries and one triple-hundred.
Interestingly, Bharat also possesses some experience of playing with the pink ball and can come handy if Saha sustains any injury in the ongoing Day-Night Test between India and Bangladesh.
“I played the first pink-ball match in Lucknow when it was introduced in the Duleep Trophy in 2015,” Bharat was quoted as saying to PTI, on Friday evening, on his way to the airport from his Visakhapatnam residence.
However, the 26-year-old is aware of the fact that it would be hard to replace Saha at the moment but is excited to share the dressing room with his idol Virat Kohli even though if it means for a day or two as the ongoing Test match is poised to end inside three days.
“I got a call and was asked to join the team in the morning. I am looking forward to share the dressing room with my idol Virat Bhai,” Bharat said.
“Wriddhiman is one of the best wicketkeepers of the current era. I’m hoping to learn a lot from them. Too excited,” he added.
Meanwhile, in India’s first-ever pink ball Test, Kohli & boys are firmly in control of the proceedings. After Ishant Sharma-led bowling unit ran through the Bangladesh batting unit and bundled them for 106, Indian batsmen batted well over a session to take a lead of 68 in the first day itself.