In a major development, veteran India wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha has opted out of Bengal’s Ranji Trophy campaign after he was being told that he will not be selected for India’s two-match Test series against Sri Lanka, starting in Mohali on March 4. However, it is understood that the new team management has shared to the national selectors that Saha, who used to consider as the first-choice keeper for India in Tests after MS Dhoni, isn’t the one to be considered for the future.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant has already been the preferred wicket-keeper for the next few years over Saha and KS Bharat already showed great glove-work in Kanpur Test against New Zealand as well. “Wriddhiman has been categorically told by influential people in the team management that they want to move on and create some new back-ups alongside Rishabh Pant,” a senior BCCI source privy to developments has told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“He was explained that he won’t be picked for the Sri Lanka Tests as it’s time that Kona gets his share of exposure with the senior team. May be that’s the reason, Wriddhiman had informed Cricket Association of Bengal president Abhishek Dalmiya and joint secretary Snehasish Ganguly that he would not play Ranji Trophy this season for ‘personal reasons’. That’s why the selectors didn’t pick him as he was unavailable for selection,” the source further added.
On the other hand, the Bengal selection committee, headed by Subhamoy Das, named a 22-member squad, including two wicketkeeper batters Abhishek Porel and Shakir Habib Gandhi, for the tournament.
“During meeting chairman of selectors Subhamoy had asked secretary and convenor of senior selection committee Snehasish Ganguly about Wriddhi’s availability. They said that Wriddhi has informed that he shouldn’t be considered for Bengal for Ranji Trophy for the season. It was a bit weird,” a source close to Bengal team management has said.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Wriddhiman Saha, who is not a part of India’s limited-overs set up also did not attend a single session of Bengal’s pre-season Ranji Trophy camp as well. “It is understandable that if he is not going to play for India anymore in Tests, then why would he have motivation to play Ranji Trophy after playing 40 Tests. While he might be feeling low, but at 37 and half years of age, it is only natural that team management won’t want him as Pant’s understudy,” he said.
Wriddhiman Saha has so far played 40 Tests and scored 1353 runs with three centuries and an average of less than 30. He however had 104 dismissals with the gloves, 92 catches and 12 stumping as well. Meanwhile, another Twitter user tweeted: “Team India’s Management has told W Saha and Ishant Sharma that the team is looking to groom the future players so their chances in Test are likely to drop drastically.”
Team India's Management has told W Saha and Ishant Sharma that the team is looking to groom the future players so their chances in Test are likely to drop drastically. – According to TOI
— CricketMAN2 (@man4_cricket) February 9, 2022