Wriddhiman Saha doesn't get angry, but his family would rather he did. He is on Whatsapp, but send him a text longer than three lines and you will have lost his attention. Saha doesn't wear hipster beards and endorse the most happening products. Nor is he colourfully coarse and earthy, like a Virender Sehwag or Praveen Kumar. Saha is the bank clerk you see at the Esplanade metro station or the salesman sipping chaa under the Gariahat flyover. He is the ultimate everyman.
Saha's career has been about waiting. He has to wait for MS Dhoni's retirement to find a permanent place in the Test side. Once there, you think he is in for good with his credentials as the best specialist wicketkeeper in the country and a solid lower-middle-order batsman.
He is injured, but his captain and coach still back him as the team's first-choice wicket-keeper. But his replacement, Parthiv Patel, has notched up a bunch of impressive performances. Now it is more a "happy headache" for the team rather than a straightforward choice.
Saha once again has to wait, this time for his injured hamstring to heal.
After two months of no first-class cricket, Saha comes back to what is probably a straight shoot-out with Parthiv for the Test wicketkeeper's spot. The immediate stakes are five home Test matches against Bangladesh and Australia. Saha scores a duck in Rest of India's first innings and puts a catch down in Gujarat's second innings. The chairman of selectors, MSK Prasad, is at the Brabourne Stadium to watch the game. His colleague, Sarandeep Singh, is doubling up as Saha's coach at Rest of India.
With Parthiv managing only 11 and 32 - he is also a victim of bad luck after being wrongly given out caught at short leg in Gujarat's second innings - Saha probably has one innings to break the tie. He comes out with his team on 63 for 4, needing 379 to win, and keeps hitting the ball in the air to smash an unbeaten 123. You expect him to play down the pressure of competing with Parthiv, and he does. But there is no fist-clenching, vein-bulging celebration after the hundred.There is no statement to make.
"Even during my stint with Bengal, at no point do I feel that I will play for India if I do well," he said at the end of the fourth day's play in Mumbai. "I keep playing freely. He [Parthiv] is also trying his best, I am also trying. Whoever is selected, will play. It's not like I have to perform today and prove a point."
When he was asked if he was now the undisputed first-choice wicketkeeper, there was more candour in his delightful Bengali-inflected Hindi: "I don't know. I just do my job and jo bataane waale hai who bataayenge ki kaun kya hai [leave it for those who are supposed to decide to decide]."
On the surface, Saha may seem all vanilla, but there is no monotone to his cricketing smarts. He said his decision to counterattack was as calculated as it was pre-meditated. Saha stood well out of his crease to deny what he called the "five-feet advantage" to the bowlers. "In the first-innings we had seen that our wickets had been lost with the moving ball," he said. "Even I got out that way. I told others in my team that I will attack initially. That worked and the bowlers started bowling shorter, which reduces the chances of being leg before or bowled.
"Hitting along the ground was difficult here when compared to clearing the field, which was safer - if you time the ball, it's surely a four. Before coming here, I played two-three practice matches during Bengal's preparation for the T20 league. That helped me as well.
"When I was playing my shots, Pujara told me to keep going because we needed runs. Had we played normally, we might not have got these many runs. Ek side jab Puji batting kar raha tab tension ka kaam hi nahin hai [It also helped that Pujara was batting at the other end]."
With his keeping, too, Saha is anything but "authentic", and is open to experimentation. Saha now takes a step forward with his left foot that gives him momentum before settling into a final position. "I keep making minor changes idhar udhar [this way or that way]," he said.
"Whatever I am comfortable with, I stick to it. Jyaada authentic or aise hi karna hai waise hi nahin [I don't stick to authentic or set practices]."
Saha spent nearly a month at the NCA in Bangalore on rehabilitation.
Most of his time there was spent on doing strengthening exercises and running even as he kept close tabs on his India colleagues' on-field performances. Wasn't there ever a sense of frustration at missing out?
Saha smiled and said staying calm was never an issue with him. "I never get angry or frustrated. Even if you ask my family members they would say it's a problem that I don't get angry."
All the while, though, Saha kept in touch with his team-mates, and where else but on Whatsapp. A journalist playfully asks him if he can be added to the group, and Saha earnestly replies that he has to ask the media manager's permission. "We do have a WhatsApp group, har jagah ho gaya hai [it is there everywhere now]," he said. "So we do keep chatting. I was keeping in touch with the team. But generally I try and stay away from things like Whatsapp. I don't even read any message that's longer than three-four lines."
Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun