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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

No competition with Parthiv Patel, says Wriddhiman Saha after Irani Cup ton

Wriddhiman Saha played down any comparisons between him and Parthiv Patel after Saha’s brilliant knock against Gujarat in the Irani Cup.

cricket Updated: Jan 23, 2017 23:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Wriddhiman Saha scored a brilliant century for Rest of India against Gujarat in the Irani Cup.
Wriddhiman Saha scored a brilliant century for Rest of India against Gujarat in the Irani Cup.

In among the match’s interesting sub-plots, the Irani Cup is witnessing the battle for the No 1 wicketkeeper-batsman’s title in the country. It has got two of the three selectors to attend the domestic game being played at the Brabourne Stadium here, at a time when the India versus England series is on.

For the first three days of the match, there was little to separate between the two protagonists, Wriddhiman Saha and Parthiv Patel. At the end of play on Monday, however, Wriddhiman Saha will be confident of having impressed the selectors with a show of daring batting to help himself to an unbeaten 123 and power his team the Rest of India to within 113 runs of a win against the Parthiv-led Ranji Trophy champions Gujarat.

READ | Irani Cup: Wriddhiman Saha stakes claim with game-changing ton against Gujarat

The comparisons between the two are inevitable, but the affable Saha played it down.

“Whenever I play, even during my stint with Bengal, I don’t think about playing for India if I perform well. I keep playing freely. He is also trying his best, I am also trying. Whosoever is selected, will play. I don’t take the pressure of performing well for the sake of playing for India,” said Saha, when asked if he was feeling the pressure with Parthiv coming good when he got a chance as his replacement in the Indian Test team.

“Even if you ask him (Parthiv), he will tell there’s no competition. Everyone tries his best and whosoever gets the opportunity, plays for the team.”

Saha refused to be drawn on the debate of the No 1 keeper in the country. “I don’t know. I just do my job and leave it for those who are supposed to decide to decide.”

The Irani Cup is the last domestic first-class game before the one-off Test match against Bangladesh and four-Test series against Australia in February. It is felt his attacking hundred in tough situation would have settled the issue in Saha’s favour. “The selectors haven’t told me anything. We will have to go by any decision.”

Saha however had a disappointing start to the fourth day’s proceedings when he dropped a catch off Chirag Gandhi. His keeping against England in the first two Tests had also come under scrutiny.

“There’s room for improvement. The dropped catch (off Gandhi) was due to misjudgment. I was caught in two minds, I first thought would go for it single-handedly then went with both the hands.”

It has been a tough last couple of months for Saha as he was sidelined due to a thigh injury while his teammates in the Indian team went from strength to strength against England. Keeping a calm and clear mind can be a challenge during such phases.

“That’s something that’s never been an issue with me. I never get angry or frustrated. Even if you ask my family members, they would say it’s a problem that I don’t get angry,” said Saha, talking about the qualities which were very much on display during his innings as Gujarat tried every trick to unsettle him but all in vain.

The current generation will find it hard to believe, but Saha is among the people who are averse to social media platforms. His declared his interaction is restricted to keeping in touch with his India teammates in their closed WhatsApp group, which he said was a source of strength during his rehab from injury.

“We do have a WhatsApp group, just like everywhere. So we do keep chatting. And also I was keeping in touch with the group. I avoid using media platforms, so don’t even read any message that’s longer than three-four lines.”