Bengaluru: Filling the shoes of MS Dhoni is no easy task, and Wriddhiman Saha is well aware of the road ahead of him. The 31-year-old wicketkeeper got the chance to cement his position in the national team following Dhoni’s retirement in Australia last year. The Bengal batsman, who is preparing for the upcoming West Indies’ series under new head coach Anil Kumble at the training camp underway here, knows he has a huge responsibility.
“To fill Dhoni’s boots isn’t an easy task. He played for India for many years, and was a match-winner for India. I will try and reach my potential and help the team, with the bat in vital situations and by taking catches behind the stumps,” said Saha on Friday. But as difficult as the road ahead might be, the Bengal cricketer admitted to learning a lot from MSD and taking these lessons ahead with him. “We (Dhoni) keep talking to each other. When we were in the IPL, I used to talk to him, even when we are in the India team, we used to talk. Even in Australia, when I played in place of Dhoni bhai, he told me how the bounce is in Australia and how to keep in those conditions, and how to handle pressure while batting.
“He keeps telling me whatever your natural technique is, just keep working on that. A little bit of fine-tuning you can try, If it helps you, do it. But it is not compulsory to change anything,” added Saha, who has played in just 11 Tests since his 2010 debut against South.Africa. Added to the wicket-keeping, Saha believes it is equally important to contribute with the bat to consolidate his position, “I scored a couple of fifties in the first series (in Sri Lanka) and in the last series, scored in the 30s and 40s. My efforts will be to try and contribute to the team to my full potential, score in the region of 70s or be involved in big partnerships. It’ll be good for me as well as the team.”
With Kumble being at the helm, and Kohli leading from the front, Saha is confident the duo will guide the team put up a solid show. “We’ll go in to this series with the same approach. We had done so previously as well, try and dominate as much as possible. That’s what we tried in the past and that is what we will keep trying this time around as well.” Unlike Indian conditions, the West Indies wickets vary and it poses a challenge for the wicketkeeper. “Obviously, every match and every ball is a challenge for a wicketkeeper because it’s a thankless job. You have to catch the ball; if you don’t, you’re considered poor. So every ball is a challenge. And situations, depending on the kind of wicket, if it is a fast wicket or a spinning wicket, it is tough to take vital catches in vital situations. If I can do that, it will be good for the team,” concluded Saha.
‘Working on mental aspect’
With the India set to play as many as 17 Tests over the next year it is important to keep the team both physically and mentally fit. “We are working on the mental aspect because how our normal domestic season goes and when we come to the Indian team, the routine remains the same. Physical fitness-wise, during the off-season we are given goals, Vasu sir gives individuals a role of how to fulfill the target, so we do that and maintain it every series,” said Saha....