India news June 4, 2014

'Adelaide 35 better than IPL ton' - Saha

ESPNcricinfo staff

Wriddhiman Saha has said he rates his innings of 35 in the Adelaide Test two years ago higher than his century in the IPL final. In the final Test of a wretched tour of Australia for India, Saha put on 124 with Virat Kohli and helped him score his maiden Test century. The IPL century, he said, would have "tasted sweeter" had his innings won the final for Kings XI Punjab.

"Although the context was completely different, I would rate the innings of 35 in the Adelaide Test and a century stand for the sixth wicket with Virat Kohli closer to my heart," Saha told PTI. "I am proud of the century in IPL final but that was a Test match. Virat was batting brilliantly and I could support him in his bid for the maiden Test hundred.

"Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle bowled during that phase. I played 94 balls and it was my second Test match. Till I got out, I wasn't uncomfortable against pace and swing, which gave me confidence that I can play at the highest level. This IPL century would have tasted sweeter but need to accept that KKR collectively batted better than us. We could never stop them from maintaining that run-rate."

During his innings against Kolkata Knight Riders, Saha was severe on Sunil Narine, scoring 35 off 18 balls against the West Indian offspinner. Saha said he made no attempt to try and read Narine's variations from his hand.

"Since I was playing Narine for the first time, I decided that I won't try to pick him from his hand," he said. "Rather, I decided to stay on the backfoot and wait for that extra split second so that ball does what it intends to do. Rocking back helped me execute those slog pulls effectively."

Saha has been MS Dhoni's long-time understudy in the Test squad, and his form in the IPL - in which he scored 362 runs at a strike rate of over 145 - has now given him a chance in the ODI team, with Dhoni rested for the tour of Bangladesh. Despite earning his place on the back of his batting form, Saha said he remains a wicketkeeper-batsman rather than a batsman-wicketkeeper.

"I am a specialist wicketkeeper whose job is to also do well with the bat," he said. "Keeping was, is and will remain the top-most priority. For example, in this upcoming tour of Bangladesh, I will not bat higher than No. 6 or No. 7. I am practical about the fact. I won't bat before Ajinkya (Rahane), Cheteshwar (Pujara) or Suresh (Raina). So I would rather see myself as a keeper-batsman than other way round."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vikram on June 5, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    Keep on working (batting/wicketkeeping) good, surely your chance will come sooner than latter...I had thoroughly enjoyed your Fantastic Century in IPL Final...Best Wishes for Bangladesh...

  • Nish on June 5, 2014, 8:10 GMT

    MSD's captaincy & batting too has been very poor in Test cricket for some time now - particularly in Tests abroad - & I hope it is just a matter of time when he steps away from Test cricket to just play in the shorter formats of the game where he excels. When this happens, we fortunately have WS who is not only a very competent replacement but probably a better wicket keeper than MSD too.

  • VENKATACHALAM on June 5, 2014, 6:50 GMT

    Saha looks to be sensible enough to understand performance in Test matches (esp.overseas) carry lot more value than an Ipl hundred.

  • sachit on June 5, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    @Prabhakar Muthukrishnan - that's sadly inevitable. Think of the Aussie Spinner's whose careers coincided with Warney's or the blokes like Herath, great spinners in their own light but they were playing in the shadow of Muralitheran.

  • Senguttuvan on June 5, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    Saha is good wicket keeper batsman but MSD is a superman, so saha is not getting chance at international level. better saha need to practice leg spin like pujara to play international level of cricket

  • Sharath on June 5, 2014, 4:34 GMT

    Saha is among the many such players who happened to play at the wrong when there are more famous and impact players in the same category.. it started in the early 70's probably with some of the best spinners in the domestic circuit not getting chances due to the famous spin quartet. Much later, good batsmen like Badrinath never had a chance inspite of scoring tons of runs in Domestic circuit due to the famous Indian middle order.. and it will continue...

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2014, 19:06 GMT

    Saha is so unlike a modern day cricketer he doesnt appear for an interview after scoring the breathtakig ton rather focuses on put his keeping gears on which he needs in the field.Such a classical beutiful keeper he is and now maturing into a towering batsman. He had refused the captaincy of Bengal which I didnt like but goes to show how focussed he is with the role in the team.

  • vas on June 4, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    Typo, correction : In the IPL auctions, the top eight Indian wicket keepers should be put in a separate category and each franchise should be allowed only one of them. Saha played for CSK for the last three years and only played as a batsman in a few games. Otherwise he was warming the bench. WKs are rarity and shouldn't be wasted.

  • vas on June 4, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    It the ipl auctions top eight Indian wicket keepers should be put in a seperate category and each franchise should be allowed only one of them. Saha played for CSK last three years and only used as a batsman in a few games,no therwise warming the bench.

  • Luka on June 4, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    Huge fan of Saha since his knock in Adelaide. Showed real composure against swing when Dhoni admitted he himself was a walking wicket. Not to mention Saha's keeping skills are much better than Dhoni's. The Indian public is so fanatic abut Dhoni that they do not see his faults, especially the dropped catches and shoddy keeping in the recent tests. I just wish that Gambhir gets going in the tests (for himself and the team's sake) and can be given the test captaincy for a few years while Virat matures as a leader in the ODI. Dhoni can retire from tests, prolong his shorter version game and Saha can take over until Samson improves. The ideal scenario!!

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