Saha makes his return in fine style

Saha makes his return in fine style
The current Indian think-tank — coach Anil Kumble, skipper Virat Kohli and selection committee — have one policy in place. If a first-choice player misses out due to an injury, he, after proving his fitness, will automatically return to the playing XI irrespective of what the replacement player does.

One of the beneficiaries of that “rule” is wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. After missing out on the last three Test matches against England last year owing to a hamstring tendon injury, Saha had to also watch the recalled Parthiv Patel make a major case for himself.

The 31-year-old scored 47 and 67 not out in his comeback game — third Test — and then cracked 71 as an opener in the fifth and final Test to put himself strongly in the mix. Parthiv also hammered 143 to help Gujarat lift their maiden Ranji Trophy to spice things up further for the Irani Cup where Saha was picked to play. Saha slammed an unbeaten 203 in that game for Rest of India but much before that selection committee chairman M S K Prasad clearly stated that the Bengali will be the number one keeper for India in the longer version.

The 32-year-old Saha, delighted after scoring his second Test ton, said the policy gives assuredness to the players. “It’s a great plus for the players. Because during an injury if you’re told that you will be back after you recover, it keeps you motivated. That confidence also reflects on your performance.

“When I got injured Parthiv performed very well. Whenever he has got chances, he has performed. But maybe after my double hundred (in Irani Cup), selectors took a decision which everybody needed to accept. My aim was to bat as long as possible and contribute as much as possible for the team,” Saha said.

Saha, meanwhile, slowed down as he neared a century and the Bengali said he merely acted upon the advice of batting coach Sanjay Bangar. “At the break, Sanjay bhai told me that you need 17 runs so first play with straight bat and score the 17 runs and then try to hit. Century is a special milestone, more so for me as I have played only 20 odd Tests. That’s why I took the approach suggested by Sanjay bhai.”

Like Murali Vijay, Saha too heaped praise on skipper Kohli. “Whenever one bats with Virat, he backs everybody, he always tells you to play your natural game.

“If you feel you can hit the ball, go for it. Not that if you are new to the crease you have to defend. He always gives you confidence which is a plus.”
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