‘Wriddhiman Saha A Better Wicketkeeper Than Parthiv Patel’
Ever since Parthiv Patel made a successful comeback to the Indian Test team, speculations are rife the team management will find it quite tough to decide over whom to include in the playing eleven – Parthiv or Wriddhiman Saha, who has done a brilliant job since replacing Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the wicketkeeper of the team. But chairman of selectors MSK Prasad has put all those speculations to the bed by saying the player with better wicketkeeping abilities will be preferred in the team, which effectively puts Saha ahead of Parthiv in the pecking order.
Saha, who had strained his left thigh during the second Test in Visakhapatnam against England, was replaced by Parthiv for the remainder of the series and the Gujarat ace grabbed the opportunity with both hands. But Prasad has indicated that Saha will be keeping the wickets in the upcoming Test series.
Speaking to Sportstar, he said:
“WriddHiman Saha was out of the team because of injury and not because he was out of form. He was the Man of the Match in the Kolkata Test against New Zealand and got a hundred in West Indies. I am happy how Parthiv [Patel] has responded to the call-up.
“He is a fighter to the core. He single-handedly brought Gujarat from nowhere to being the Ranji champion. He is among our scheme of things. There is just a minor difference between the two. When it comes to Test cricket, it is always the man who keeps better gets the nod.
“Parthiv’s glovework has definitely improved. But Saha has got better hands and that’s where he scores little more points than Parthiv. With today’s batting, Saha showed why he is the No. 1 keeper-batsman in the country. When he came out to bat yesterday, the team was struggling at 63 for 4 and to take the game away from Gujarat is phenomenal. So it’s a healthy competition between the two,” he added.
The chief selector also sounded pleased with the ODI team’s performance in the recently concluded series against England.
“All said and done, we were a bit worried about the middle order during the New Zealand ODI series,” he said.
He also said that including Yuvraj Singh in the ODI squad was not a gamble. The southpaw, who last played an ODI game way back in 2013 before playing against England, had scored 672 runs in five matches including two centuries and as many fifties in the Ranji Trophy. However, prior to that, he was looking out of sorts while playing for India in the T20s and as expected, there were few eyebrows raised on his inclusion.
“[Recalling] Yuvraj was definitely not a gamble,” Prasad said. “The five selectors earlier and three now had seen him do exceptionally well in the domestic circuit. Someone who can get a 260 and a 180 in Ranji Trophy shows the ability and the hunger he has.
Well, the selectors will be very pleased with the way the Punjab ace has performed in the series. He was the third-highest scorer in the series with 210 runs, including a career-best 150 in the second ODI.
Speaking about Kedar Jadhav, who bagged the Man of the Series award, Prasad said:
“Kedar Jadhav is a little dynamite. I saw him play a Ranji game at Lahli, Andhra versus Maharashtra (2014-15 quarter-final). It was a seaming track and they were some for 40 for 6 and this guy scored some 80-odd and won the game for Maharashtra.
“Somehow like Virat enjoys chasing, this guy enjoys finisher’s role. During one of the recent India A tour to Australia he played that role. Even in Zimbabwe he did well and I’m happy for him,” he added.
Meanwhile, the poor form of the openers is still a huge concern for the Indian team. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, the openers have failed to give the team a good start.
When asked about that, he said:
“As far as the opening slots are concerned, we all know that Rohit Sharma is injured and it’s just a matter of time before he comes back. I know it would have helped the rest to get some runs under the belt but I am not overtly worried because we have domestic limited-overs cricket and then the big event like IPL coming all the boys will have minimum 15-16 matches before they head to the Champions Trophy.”
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