India v Bangladesh, only Test, Hyderabad, 2nd day February 10, 2017

Team management's backing is a motivator - Saha

ESPNcricinfo staff
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'My aim was to bat as long as possible' - Saha

Wriddhiman Saha waited for years and years to get a decent run in the India Test team. After MS Dhoni's retirement from Tests, Saha made sure India didn't miss the legendary wicketkeeper, scoring a century in the West Indies and then winning India the Kolkata Test with half-centuries from tricky situations in each innings. An untimely injury gave Parthiv Patel a look-in, and Parthiv grabbed the chance with both hands. Parthiv's keeping improved gradually, but it was his selfless batting that would have endeared him to the side.

Here we go again, Saha might have thought, but the India selectors and team management brought him right back in as soon as he recovered. They did the same with Ajinkya Rahane even though his replacement Karun Nair scored a triple-century in his last Test innings. Saha was thankful for such clarity in thought both from the selectors and the team management after he capped off his comeback with his Test century.

"It's a great plus for the players," Saha said. "Because after an injury break when one makes a comeback, if you are clearly told that as and when you recover you will be back in the team, the individual gets more motivated and that helps in your performance."

Saha acknowledged Parthiv's contribution when he was away, but Saha's comeback began with a match-winning double-century for Rest of India in the Irani Cup incidentally against the Ranji Trophy champions Gujarat, captained by Parthiv himself.

"When I was injured, Parthiv performed and he did well," Saha said. "Whenever he has got chances, he has performed. But may be after my 200, selectors took a decision, which everybody needed to accept. Now that I was back, my aim was to bat as long as possible and contribute as much as possible for the team."

One of the contributions Saha made was to convince Kohli to review an lbw call when he was on 180. The review was successful, and Kohli went on to become the first batsman in the history of the game to score double-centuries in four consecutive series.

"Virat thought that he was out but I told him that he had probably stretched your front foot too far," Saha said. "Hopefully, the impact may be outside, and the ball had spun sharply, so it might be missing the leg stump. So Virat took the call and was saved."

When Kohli was ruled out again, on 204, Saha couldn't get a word in because Kohli was absolutely convinced he was out. This time Kohli was hit outside the line, but that is something India took in their stride. Kohli returned the favour later in the day when Saha took a catch diving to his right but didn't go up in appeal because he didn't hear anything. Kohli, though, had, and he reviewed to reveal to a faint touch on Soumya Sarkar's bat's toe, giving Saha his first dismissal on Test return.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   rajivbose on February 11, 2017, 8:45 GMT

    Bangladesh needs to try and win some Test matches against Afghanistan, Ireland, Zimbabwe etc before playing with the other teams. Bangladesh need to learn how to play test cricket else they will humiliate themselves as always. Some genius down below said Bangladesh will win against SA and Aus. That's a fantasy even the most ambitious movie producers won't think of as a movie plot lol.

  •   Deepanjan Datta on February 10, 2017, 20:02 GMT

    While we do need to develop a young, long-term keeper (Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson are two good candidates), it's good to note that Saha is getting his due for being Dhoni's understudy for years. He is certainly the best wicketkeeper among him, Naman Ojha, and Parthiv Patel. Sure, he isn't as fiery a bat as Dhoni, but then Australia didn't find another Gilchrist either! If he can do what Healy or Haddin did for them - being a solid, irritating presence until the young incumbent is ready, India will be in good hands. Parthiv is selfless, and a better strokemaker, but let's not forget that he was dropped because his keeping at top level was like Kamran Akmal. You do not win games on 'flat pitches' with your keeper scoring more runs (your top order most likely would've done the job), but you do lose them by dropping catches. Saha's catch late in the day, showed us his true value.

  • helloiyam on February 10, 2017, 19:35 GMT

    @CRICFAN63871589 It was clearly visible that Bangladesh cricketers were not really interested and in mood ever to become a test nation.and it was bangladesh luck that the complaints were not pitching properly to ICC banning bangladesh playing any more tests,Afhganistion could have got the test status very early and bangladesh would have been shut out from tests. Bangladeshi bowlers will show their real strength in big local competition series like in dhakka or chittagong where they will beat everybody comprehensively and regain no.1 position in their own competition.way to go bangladesh.

  • cricfan46433877 on February 10, 2017, 17:50 GMT

    i like Afghanistan team i like my favourite player mohammad shahzad

  • cricfan16651685 on February 10, 2017, 17:34 GMT

    @CRICFAN63871589. This guy is funny.Why does Bangladesh try to project India as an overrated team, rather than proving themselves a better team by winning over them. yesterday Taskin was bragging about how they missed their opportunities rather than playing sensible cricket. How in the world did Mushfiqur missed that stumping of Saha, now please get your basics right. We all want competitive cricket, we all would love to see Bangladesh challenging world teams and winning it, but that needs temperament and dedication not just zeal to win

  • CRICKETWORLDCLASS on February 10, 2017, 16:46 GMT

    @CRICFAN63871589, India is no.1 ranked test team in the world and within the top three across formats as always. Their batsmen scored tons of runs and centuries in Aus, SA, Eng and NZ and that is why they are regarded as the best batting side in the world...now comes to their bowling and there are certain Ashwin and Jadeja who are ranked no.1 and 2 respectively in the world and if you watch and listen or by the way read the articles published throughout the world every cricket nation and former greats think India have outstanding fast bowlers like Shami, Umesh, Aaron and one of the best swing bowler in the world Bhubhi. They out bowled NZ and Eng recently on these flat surfaces. Facts are there and you don't need to be a rocket scientist either.

  • venkat4cricket on February 10, 2017, 15:55 GMT

    @CRICFAN63871589, Bagla beating Aus & SA on their home, are you kidding?? they are not either india, NZ or ENG on Bangla pitches. And remember India failed in Bangla only due to inconsistent batting line up and not due to any extreme bowling performances. I would say India is still in transition mode finding their best line up for ODIs and T20s, test line up is somewhat settled. Any team can't win for longer with 3 or 4 players performing, thats what happen to india earlier and now with Bangla. Their more dependent on either Tamim or Shakib to perform all the time. Mushfiqur is an inconsistent like his other batsmen. And beating Aus or SA is not as easy as one think of. First of all Bangla should improve their skill to play longer than 3 or 4 session while batting and also draw the matches which is first step towards the test attitude. They should remember they are playing test matches and control themselves from rash shots. Once this habit is developed then they can think of winning.

  • cricfan63871589 on February 10, 2017, 15:35 GMT

    @INDIANINGLASGOW @Kiran it is because Bangladesh knows it will easily score around 750 on this pitch and considering quality of Indian bowling attack,just see what great Shakib did in New Zealand,and if they bowl well maybe bowl India around 120 in second innings and even win the match. Hence Bangladesh bowlers were not that serious.

  • HarrowXI on February 10, 2017, 15:33 GMT

    On a dead pitch saha made a 100. Almost everyone except rahul made runs. Its a flat pitch against no 9 rank team. Still prefer pant or kl rahul to be a keeper batsman as india lack all rounder at 7. Outside india u need bowlers to give 20 wickets which india dont have and all rounder to give u flexibility and 300 plus runs on the board which is missing.

  • OnePranav on February 10, 2017, 15:32 GMT

    @cricfan63871589 you are funny mate. Tommorow you might say. it was a friday. we will do well on a sunday. The sun was hiding behind the stadium. we will do well once the sun is brave enough to shine in the sky.

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