Opening innings a big boost for me: Saha

Test specialist Wriddhiman Saha reckons that opening the batting for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a big positive for him.

Saha has earlier opened the batting for Kings XI Punjab and even scored a hundred in a losing cause during the 2013 IPL final against Kolkata Knight Riders.

"I like to play my natural game. Coach (Tom Moody) and captain (Kane Williamson) have backed me on this and I have got an opportunity to open the innings, which is a plus point. They have told me to play with freedom and play my natural shots," Saha told PTI here.

Saha has so far scored 51 runs in three games with scores of 5, 22 and 24 respectively.

Asked if he would continue opening the innings, Saha replied: "This depends on team management. If I do well as an opener, I will be entrusted to take up the responsibility but if I don't come up to their expectations, then they may think of other options. But I want to even better my performance."

Saha was generous in his praise for new skipper Williamson. "Kane is always open to suggestions from team-mates during the game. He gives us freedom and he remains very relaxed, calm and brings positive vibes. Under him, our team bonding is very good".

Saha believes that even copybook shots can fetch him runs and there is no need to play unconventional shots.

"I prefer to hit over the circle when opportunities come during the Powerplay overs). I play my regular cricketing shots and I have not come up with any unconventional strokes," the Bengal stumper added.

Saha admitted that solid show from the bowling unit has eased the pressure on the batsmen as they have not had to chase any stiff total so far.

"Apart from the bowlers who are in the playing XI, we have fantastic bench strength. Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar), Rashid Khan, Siddarth (Kaul), Shakib (Al Hasan) and Billy Stanlake have been bowling well and have helped restrict the opposition to totals in the 150 region," he said.

About IPL, which is over a decade-old, Saha said, "IPL is a great platform for any player, more so for budding players, it is such a platform where they get the opportunity to rub shoulders with senior players from around the globe, which helps them to further improve their game."

Saha, who has played 32 Tests for India, revealed that he has been fond of the shorter format of the game since the beginning. He recently hit 14 sixes en route a 20-ball hundred during a T20 inter-club game in Kolkata.

"I always liked playing T20 from the start and enjoy this format. Earlier on, in KXIP, I got few opportunities to play the shorter format of the game. I also got a chance to play the Tests but whatever opportunity you get, you have to perform and my aim is to contribute and help my team win," he said.

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