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'Adelaide 35 better than IPL ton' - Saha

ESPNcricinfo staff

June 4, 2014

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Wriddhiman Saha evades a short ball, Australia v India, 4th Test, Adelaide, 3rd day, January 26, 2012
'The Adelaide innings gave me confidence that I can play at the highest level' - Wriddhiman Saha © Associated Press
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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."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ultimatewarrior 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...

Posted by Coolcapricorn 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.

Posted by venkatesh018 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.

Posted by 9ST9 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.

Posted by Chennai_Cricket 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

Posted by Sharath274 on (June 5, 2014, 4:34 GMT)

Saha is among the many such players who happened to play at the wrong time..ie 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...

Posted by   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.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 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.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 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.

Posted by Triple_A 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!!

Posted by ImonG on (June 4, 2014, 12:53 GMT)

He is considered India's best glove man by cricket pundits, for quite some time now. What kept him out of the Indian team was selectors belief that he is a technically sound batsman, good in the longer formats, not where one has to score runs quickly. Which was probably correct, at least for that period. That's why he was preferred more as a second keeper in the test sides & Dinesh Karthik in the limited overs. MSD playing most of the test matches & missing an ODI/T20 series once in a while actually meant, that DK's exposure to international cricket has been more than that of Wriddhi's. If he can carry forward his IPL performances with the bat, we can surely see him in place of DK, when MSD thinks of taking a break. He has shown good transformation from a classical accumulator of runs to a brisk scorer. Make no mistake he can bat, has an average of 46 in first class cricket. If he continues this good work, he will surely make it. Cause when it comes to pure keeping, he is the best.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (June 4, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

@Prabhakar: Dinesh Karthik was given chance in tests way before MSD started. And he was not dropped after a series or two,he was given an extended run of 20 or so tests to prove himself. truth is he failed at the highest level.MSD debuted after his failure.

Posted by Naresh28 on (June 4, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

India seems to be teeming with new wky's :- Saha, Samson, Naman Ohja, Uthappa, Gautham to mention a few. Uthappa should be used as an opener more like was done with Dravid. Only pace bowling is a worry, with only two that we can call fast - Umesh Yadav and Aaron.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2014, 11:33 GMT)

It is a cruel quirk of fate that players like Saha will never enjoy a long test career, just because their careers coincided with that of MSD. He is almost 30 now, too late for a wicket keeper to think of a long term India career, untill and unless he does something spectacular by the way of his batting. The same holds true for Dinesh Karthik too. He and Parthiv Patel too are around 30. While they have not done anything great with the bat to warrant attention, their keeping too has been not upto the mark. The next Indian wicketkeeper could well be Sanju Samson.

Posted by tino_best on (June 4, 2014, 11:03 GMT)

good... keep it up....had your day - will be remembered despite the win of kkr. preserve adelaide. if fate on your side will have more such occassions coming to narrate to grandchildren. YOU may come after raina to bat in bangla odis BUT remember you played once as a specialist batsman in a Test. All these things combined with your attitude makes for a fairytale life story. LUCKY MAN.

Posted by balajik1968 on (June 4, 2014, 10:34 GMT)

Good luck. I always liked your keeping. That is your strength. Never compromise on that.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (June 4, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

Test cricket really " tests" the players (provided it's not being played in flat pitches).It's no surprise that Saha rates his Adelaide 35 higher than this IPL century after IPL is just a domestic tournament played in some placid tracks

Posted by subbuamdavadi on (June 4, 2014, 9:59 GMT)

Dhoni had effectively stalled his career while in CSK...it is good that KXIP picked him up in the auction. If and when MSD leaves the Test arena, Saha should be the first choice as WK

Posted by Chandramouli.G on (June 4, 2014, 9:55 GMT)

Interestingly, he scored the same number of runs in that test match innings as he scored off Narine. Yet the number of balls differ by 76 so as the strike rate differ by quite a margin. But, Yes! its good to see him eager to perform for the Indian team and create an impact or atleast play a cameo innings, the one that's desicive.

Posted by RakeshDash on (June 4, 2014, 9:48 GMT)

Respect Boy.. I bet you better WC+Bat than anybody else in Test cricket in India

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