Gujarat captain and opener Priyank Panchal is excited teaming up with the the legendary Rahul Dravid after being added to India’s Test squad for the South Africa Test series. Panchal, an India A regular, has made the cut after Rohit Sharma was ruled out of the tour due to a hamstring injury.
Panchal has worked with Dravid during their India A stints together and will hope to make his international debut in South Africa.
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Panchal, a veteran of 100 first-class matches, received an important lesson from Dravid on dealing with the added responsibility when he first became India A captain in 2019.
“I was very excited during training sessions, thinking that now that I am captain, I have to do this and do that. In excitement, you forget what you really want to do,” Panchal told The Indian Express.
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“So Rahul sir had told me, ‘Just be normal. You have it naturally within you, and that is why you have been given this job. You don’t need to change your game at all. Just follow your path, the way you have performed in domestic cricket all these years, just do that here.’ That really helped me,” he recalled.
He continued, “When he says something, you absorb it instantly as a cricketer, because it comes from someone who has had such a long cricketing journey and so much experience.”
Panchal said he has followed Dravid and knows the importance of work ethic having watched the current India head coach train at the National Cricket Academy during his Under-15 days.
“I have seen how hard Rahul sir would train at the NCA during my Under-15 days. I have followed him ever since I began my career. I have been lucky to have interacted with him while with India A,” he said.
India will be play three Tests during the South Africa tour starting December 26.
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