After waiting in the wings for almost five years as a reserve wicketkeeper, the moment Wriddhiman Saha has been waiting for has finally arrived. The 30-year-old will embark on a short Bangladesh tour in a one-off Test to stake his claim as Team India’s permanent man behind the stumps.
Wriddhiman Saha at the Adelaide Oval in 2012. Pic/AFP
Saha, who made his Test debut in 2010 at Nagpur against South Africa, played just one more Test thereafter in 2012 before getting two Tests in Australia after skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni quit the five-day format midway during India’s tour Down Under last year.
Former India wicketkeeper and chairman of selectors Kiran More feels the Bangladesh tour could be a make-or-break one for Saha’s Test career. “His real test starts now. It is a now-or-never situation for him. He has to establish himself in Bangladesh. Otherwise, there are other wicketkeeper-batsmen ready to take his place. There is healthy competition,” More told mid-day.
Saha did not do justice to the opportunities he got in the last two Tests against Australia last December and earlier this year. In his four innings, he scored 25, 13, 35 and 0. “There will be a lot of pressure on him, no doubt about it. He has to keep well. He did not have a great Australia series. He missed a few catches and a stumping chance. He also did not bat well. It is time for him to live up to his potential now,” said More.
More waited too
While Saha waited for five years to get a permanent role in India’s Test team, More too had to wait for more than three years to replace Syed Kirmani, who kept wickets for India for a decade.
“I was first picked in the team in 1983, but got my first opportunity only in 1986. I travelled to Australia, West Indies with the team which helped me a lot to get used to the conditions when I kept wickets on my debut at Lord’s in 1986.
“I am sure Saha would have also learnt a lot in the opportunities he has got so far. He should not think of what Dhoni did for all these years. He should just back his own game and play without putting any unnecessary pressure on himself,” concluded More.
Mushfiqur Rahim, Test skipper and ’keeper
For me, playing against India gives me extra motivation as the entire cricketing world will be watching the series with a lot of interest. When we beat Pakistan in the ODI series, critics said that it was not a quality team. So there is extra bit of motivation for me to do well against India.
Shakib Al Hasan, All rounder
For me, an India series means that you can attract the attention of potential sponsors.
Tamim Iqbal, Opener
We would try our best and play to win the Test match but for all practical purposes, I would like to win atleast one ODI during the three-match series.