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Against pink ball, every ball was a test: Wriddhiman Saha

Having made a spectacular comeback after being sidelined by injury for more than a year, Saha is now being compared to the best of all time. Having turned heads with his keeping against the pink ball, Saha opened up to BORIA MAJUMDAR on his wicketkeeping technique, upcoming New Zealand series and how he is trying to forget the horror of the past one year.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 27, 2019, 11.47 PM IST
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Having played with him for 15 years, I can tell you he has never bowled better and has never been fitter. I just hope he keeps doing that for India.
Wriddhiman Saha is one of the most soft-spoken cricketers around. Completely focussed on the job at hand, he seldom speaks much. All he wants to do is keep wickets and score runs for his team. Having made a spectacular comeback after being sidelined by injury for more than a year, Saha is now being compared to the best of all time. Having turned heads with his keeping against the pink ball, Saha opened up to BORIA MAJUMDAR on his wicketkeeping technique, upcoming New Zealand series and how he is trying to forget the horror of the past one year. Excerpts:

You have been spectacular to say the least. It is as if there is always an extra fielder behind the wickets. What is it that you are doing differently?
I am not doing anything different to be honest. I remain as still as possible till the time the ball is released by the bowler. That’s when my intensity peaks and I start to make my adjustment. Against the pink ball, which was swinging a lot after passing the batsmen, every ball was an examination. I told my teammates this is another trial that I am being made to go through in front of 70,000 people and there was no way I could fail. I just focus on the ball till the very last second and commit to what I am doing.

There is no point in complicating things. If you keep your technique simple, you will get your rewards.

There have been instances when you have dived in front of first slip to take a catch. How and when do you commit to such a situation?
You need to focus and think if the ball is dying before it reaches first slip. As the wicketkeeper I am in the best position to judge that. Once I figure it out, I go for it. For instance, there was an occasion in the Kolkata Test where I realised that the ball was dying on the first slip fielder and he wouldn’t be able to catch it even if he dived.

That’s when I went for the catch and luckily for me the ball stuck in my gloves! (laughs).

The last one year was tough. How do you look at the comeback?
I have always tried to control things that are in my hands. What isn’t controllable should just be left alone. It is not in my hands to get picked in the first eleven. You can’t get frustrated if you are not picked. You have to keep working hard and wait for your turn. And once you are given an opportunity just try and make the most of it. While I was out with an injury, at no point did I ever give up or feel I wouldn’t be able to come back. I never lost focus — that’s for sure. But yes, the comeback has been good and I am very happy with the way things have progressed in the last two months.

Keeping to Mohammed Shami bowling full tilt can’t be easy! Can you talk about it?
Yes, he is bowling brilliantly. The ball is hitting my gloves and that’s when you know Shami is in full flow.

Having played with him for 15 years, I can tell you he has never bowled better and has never been fitter. I just hope he keeps doing that for India.

A very important New Zealand series is coming up. It is one country where you have not played yet. Have you already started planning?
No I haven’t started planning but I will when the tour is two weeks away. While I haven’t played in New Zealand, I was there when Mahi bhai (MS Dhoni) captained the team and I have seen things as closely as I could have. The bounce is true and I don’t think it should be a problem for me. It is a great opportunity for us to do well as a team and that’s what each of us wants to do.

While your keeping is much talked about, people very rarely talk about your batting.
Yes I agree and I believe it is important that I score runs at every opportunity for the team. As wicket-keeper batsman I need to contribute as much as I can for every run matters in close contests. I haven’t done too badly but again there is always scope for improvement and I do want to score as many as I can with the bat in every game that I play for India.

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