Kolkata: Wriddhiman Saha might be the current best choice wicketkeeper in Virat Kohli-led India’s Test side, but the Bengal wicketkeeper-batsman believes there are lot other players like him, competing for his place.
Since Mahendra Singh Dhoni retired from Test cricket in December 2014, Wriddhiman Saha has been the go-to man behind the wickets in terms of Test cricket.
Ahead of the first Test against Sri Lanka here on Thursday, the 33-year-old cricketer recently spoke about playing under MS Dhoni, and how being a wicketkeeper-batsman can be important to the team.
"It’s true that if Mahi bhai was still playing Test cricket, the amount he contributed … As a captain, he has won us so many trophies, and as a player, whatever we say is too little.
"Maybe I didn’t get a chance because he was around, maybe I got a chance once in a way but that was fair. Now my aim is to play for as long as possible," he was quoted saying to Wisden India.
He also admitted that the competition was tough, given the quality of keepers waiting in the ranks.
"There are others in the line, and they are doing their best, exactly as I am. I am trying to play for as long as possible, and that’s the challenge. When you are outside, you do your best to put pressure on the person in front of you," he added.
Saha, who has played for Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League, also revealed how sledging goes about in the team.
"As for me, I don’t think I have ever sledged, anywhere. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Actually, when I have been with Mahi bhai (Chennai Super Kings), I have seen that he also doesn’t sledge.
" He talks, as the captain he spoke to the players – the bowlers and the fielders – but he didn’t sledge. I don’t think I have ever seen him talk to individual batsmen. I guess that’s how I am too; I try to do my work quietly," he stated.
He also spoke about his Test career so far.
"From the start, my goal was to play as much as possible. I wanted to play for the Indian team too, but I didn’t get a chance early on. I got one or two Tests after long gaps when Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) wasn’t around for some reason or the other."
"That didn’t affect me much, but the idea was to try and grab the chance whenever it came and get a long run of matches for the Indian team. That has happened, so I am quite happy with my career so far," he continued.
He also went on to say that while he mostly focuses on wicket-keeping, he still tries his best in batting.
"I think I am still mainly a wicketkeeper. I am a wicketkeeper-batsman. From the time I was a child, I thought of myself as a wicketkeeper-batsman, not a batsman-wicketkeeper like a lot of people are. "
Of course, now it has become compulsory for wicketkeepers to be good batsmen as well, but I think my main job is to be a good wicketkeeper. But I do focus on my batting a lot more than I used to; I am expected to score runs, whether for Bengal or for India, so I spend more time in the nets. Scoring runs have helped. If you score runs, the confidence while keeping wickets also goes up," he stated.
He recalled a Test match against Australia in Adelaide in 2014.
"We had a chance to win (chasing 364). Virat (Kohli, who scored 141) had asked me to bat positively, and I did. That was disappointing because I got out for 13 trying to hit a big one after hitting a six. "
"To return to the dressing room after letting go of a winning position is depressing. So I feel bad at times that when I was batting with Virat if I had batted for longer and given Virat more company, we could have won that Test. We lost in the end (by 48 runs)," he further explained.
India will take on Sri Lanka in the first Test at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday. The three Tests will be followed by as many ODIs and T20s....