Wriddhiman Saha has slowly and steadily cemented his place in the India Test team over the past couple of seasons. The 32-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman is now an integral part of the Virat Kohli gang. However, his mellow on-field behaviour is in complete contrast to the in-your-face attitude of his teammates. That, however, has not stopped Saha from scoring three Test centuries over the past one season.
Saha, who was the first to score a century in IPL final (2014), has however failed to live up to the expectations in IPL 2017. The KXIP player talks to HT about his current form and his amiable nature. Excerpts:
Q: For a youngster, the IPL is about knowing the big stage, the big players. You are an established Test cricketer. How do you see IPL now?
A: I have become a regular in the Indian Test team only in the last two years. Before that, the domestic tournaments and the IPL gave me the platform to show my abilities. At the IPL, I got to learn to thrive under competition and saw how top players prepare ahead of a match.
Q: Has there been any specific aspect in batting that you imbibed through IPL which helped you in other formats?
A: Rotating the strike and taking risks in the slog overs are two aspects which became very important for me in the IPL. I carried the knowledge to other formats as well.
Q: You seem to be one of the calmest players on the field. Do you not get affected by all the talk about aggression in current times?
A: There is a difference between aggression and intensity. Every player is intense on the field but everyone shows it in a different way. With Mahi Bhai (MS Dhoni), you never get to know what’s going on in his mind. But Virat is different. He is more expressive. I like to stay my natural self. I believe in staying calm. Showing too much aggression leads to energy loss. For me, it might affect my performance.
Q: Coming to performance, you have not been able to do well in batting in this IPL?
A: Yes, in this IPL I have not been able to capitalise on the opportunities I have got. I am training hard. We still have quite a few matches left in the tournament, and hopefully I will be able to score big.
Q: Do you think for a wicketkeeper-batsman, it’s often the ‘batsman’ part that decides the player’s importance?
A: You can’t help it. Everybody on the field has to play more than one role. I can’t expect to be part of the playing XI merely on the basis of my keeping. If I am given a role to hit the ball, I will have to show my ability to do it.
Q: Kings XI Punjab started the tournament on a strong note, but then lost a series of matches. How do you see it?
A: We lost some close matches. There was lack of application from our side. We are preparing for the road ahead. We will make a comeback.