Retirement is MS Dhoni’s call, there’ll be ups and downs: Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha, Indian Test cricket team wicketkeeper, says that MS Dhoni’s recent lean patch should not be singled out as a reason for him to take retirement.cricket Updated: Jul 15, 2017 08:54 IST
There isn’t much going on in India wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha’s life apart from cricket. When Saha isn’t playing Tests, he is either representing Bengal in Ranji Trophy or Mohun Bagan in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) first division league. And like many former and present cricketers, Saha had opened a restaurant but it didn’t work out because of lack of time. Bit of a recluse, Saha spoke to Hindustan Times on topics ranging from his rapport with Virat Kohli to MS Dhoni’s influence but more importantly how he never takes his place for granted.
How significant was the last year in your career?
I never thought about it too deeply. It’s just that only now I am a little more assured about my place in the Test team, especially after the last two series probably.
Technically, you are considered the best wicket-keeper. Does it also bother you that you have to score as well to keep your place?
It isn’t like selectors will persist with me if I score but don’t keep well. I don’t think it works that way. I know that I have to prove myself every opportunity.
That way, how significant were those two centuries against West Indies (St Lucia) and Australia (Ranchi)?
Any big innings ramps up the confidence and motivation level. You start playing more freely. You find strength if you have those runs behind you. I know that style has brought me runs so I can continue that way.
Do you feel not playing ODIs or T20Is for India helps you preserve yourself for the longest format?
Whatever chance I get, I have to prove myself. It doesn’t matter which format it is. Right now I am thankful about the opportunities I am getting in one format. I don’t know about the future though. Let’s see how that rolls out. It isn’t my hands.
How do you utilise the breaks between Test series?
Actually, I rarely find any time. Like after the IPL, the Kolkata club league started rightaway. It only finished in the first week of July. I didn’t quite feel the gap. Apart from the league matches, I follow my own training schedule.
You are one of the fitter cricketers. How has the approach towards fitness changed?
It’s changed radically. Right now the thought process is that you play as long as you are fit. Performance is of course there. Everyone has his own food habit and training process. I never liked spicy or oily food too much and that hasn’t changed. We are given a few training models that we follow between series.
Can you tell us something about your equation with Virat who backs you a lot? He is naturally aggressive, you are pretty quiet. How does that work out?
I try to be the same way in the Indian dressing room the way I am with Bengal. I always go about my routine and do everything that I am asked to with a smile. Maybe he appreciates that since he expects that from everyone.
How has your responsibility changed with the introduction of DRS?
The inputs of both bowlers and the keeper are important. There have been situations where the bowler and I have disagreed on a call and the captain has had to go with his conviction. It’s about conviction at the end of the day. The entire team has been told, those in the slips too, that you ask for a review if you are 100% sure about it. There is no question of asking if you are 90% sure about it. And there is no blaming anyone if it doesn’t go our way.
How has the attitude of the team changed changed under Kohli?
Earlier too we used to back each other. I guess the change now is that the age difference among the players isn’t much. That’s a plus. We are a unit, support each other and are genuinely happy when a teammate does well. That feeling has improved I guess.
How has MS Dhoni influenced you?
When I was with him at Chennai Super Kings, I used to watch how he prepared, how he kept his cool and spoke to everyone. We spoke on how different his keeping was with respect to others. Dhoni was always positive, never spoke negative.
There has been some criticism of Dhoni and talk that he should retire. Your thoughts?
It’s an individual choice. It’s also about how much that particular player is contributing. There are ups and downs in everyone’s performance. It isn’t as if you play 10 matches, you have to deliver in all 10.
Have you started preparing for Sri Lanka?
Not really. With the kind of rain we are getting in Kolkata right now turf wickets are hardly proving good for practice. Indoor wickets aren’t a good substitute so there isn’t much preparation going on now. So I have to wait till I get there and play a few practice matches.
After Sri Lanka, India will be touring South Africa, England and Australia in a year. Do you think India can win a series in any of these countries?
I will talk about South Africa. We drew the Test in Johannesburg (in 2013) that we could have won. We had set them over 400 and they somehow saved that match. There is no doubt we have the capability. The team is almost same so there is no reason why we can’t win an away series given the way everyone is performing.