In a series which has been disastrous to say the least, not many expect Wriddhiman Saha to script a success story for India in the final Test against Australia next week but the Bengal youngster might turn out to be a pleasant surprise.
The 27-year-old will be behind the stumps in the Test starting January 24 as regular wicketkeeper and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been slapped with a one-match ban for slow over-rate in the third Test in Perth last week.
The situation perfectly fits with Saha's profile of stepping in at the moment of vacuum and making the most of a crisis.
The youngster made his first class debut for Bengal against Hyderabad in the 2007 season.
The opportunity came his way after regular stumper Deep Dasgupta opted for Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Saha promptly made an immediate impression and cracked a century in his debut first-class match.
The next big moment for Saha came when the South Africans came touring in 2010. Disenchanted with both Dinesh Karthick and Parthiv Patel, the selectors turned towards Saha and drafted him into the squad as a second wicketkeeper-batsman.
When nobody expected him to do anything other than carry drinks on the field, Saha actually made his Test debut.
Again, somebody's loss became his moment of gain. Rohit Sharma was set to make his debut when a freak injury just before the game gave Saha his break but purely as a batsman. Saha didn't do too bad, making 36 in one of the innings.
"After Sourav Ganguly, several players from Bengal had got a look-in for the Indian team but they could not cement their places. But I intend to perform well to stay there as long as I can," Saha has said.
With averages in the 40s in both first class and List A matches, Saha hasn't slackened a bit on the present tour. He also has an idea how to bat or keep wickets in Australian conditions. "As a batsman, you need to give a little extra there. But for a wicketkeeper, the conditions are ideal as the ball comes along nicely."
Saha took tips from former India captain Sourav Ganguly before coming to Australia. Ganguly will be in the commentator's box when Saha would take the field in the Adelaide Test.
"He (Sourav) told me to stay focused and concentrate on my style of play. Besides, he has also given me a few cricketing tips," Saha said.
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