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Saha parts ways with Bengal after obtaining NOC from CAB

He had been involved in a long public fallout with the state association that started earlier this year

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
Wriddhiman Saha hit a vital half-century for India, India vs New Zealand, 1st Test, Kanpur, 4th day, November 28, 2021

Wriddhiman Saha has played 122 first-class matches  •  BCCI

Wriddhiman Saha, the India wicketkeeper, has parted ways with Bengal, the team he represented in domestic cricket, after a public fallout with a state association official. He is now a free agent, having obtained an NOC from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).
"Mr Wriddhiman Saha came to CAB and in an application to President Avishek Dalmiya sought the NOC from the association," stated an association press release. "CAB gave concurrence to the request of Mr Saha and provided the NOC to him for playing for another state. CAB also wished him the very best for his future endeavours."
It began in February, when CAB joint-secretary Debabrata Das issued a statement accusing Saha of giving "all sorts of excuses" to "skip" Ranji Trophy matches. This didn't go down well Saha, who sought an apology that wasn't forthcoming.
At the time, Saha had just been left out of the India Test team, with head coach Rahul Dravid having spoken to him of the possibility of not being picked in the Test squad going forward. Consequently, he pulled out of the Ranji Trophy league phase citing "personal reasons".
In May, Saha was picked in Bengal's squad for the Ranji Trophy knockouts, but he pulled out saying his permission wasn't sought before naming him in the squad. Saha is believed to have spoken to the CAB officials, who promised him Das' statement wasn't a reflection of CAB's stance.
However, Saha reiterated his stance and said that in case the dispute could not be resolved, he wanted a no-objection certificate to leave the state. With the matter being unresolved two months on, Saha finally decided to obtain an NOC.
While there are murmurs over Saha possibly taking up a role as mentor-cum-player with Tripura, they remain in discussion stage with neither party willing to make a comment at the moment. Earlier, Gujarat and Baroda, who were briefly linked as Saha's potential teams, had categorically denied initiating talks.
Saha, 37, has played 122 first-class matches, scoring 6423 runs at an average of 41.98. So far, he has hit 13 centuries and 38 half-centuries. In his 40-Test career, he made 1353 runs at an average just shy of 30. The home Test series against New Zealand last December was Saha's most-recent appearance in India colours.
While his immediate international future seems bleak, Saha is still contracted to IPL champions Gujarat Titans with whom he had an impressive season, scoring 317 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of 122.39.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo