Team management's backing is a motivator - 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.