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KS Bharat

Wriddhiman Saha (Picture Credit: BCCI/IPL)
Wriddhiman Saha (Picture Credit: BCCI/IPL)

Rishabh Pant Has Done Well And Should Be India’s First-Choice Keeper, Says Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha was India’s best Test wicketkeeper and hence would be their first-choice on raging turners at home. 23-year-old Rishabh Pant used to keep in overseas conditions, where the ball doesn’t move much off the pitch.

In addition to his exquisite glovework, Wriddhiman Saha had vast experience. So, Indian management opted to field him in Adelaide as the Bengal boy played in foreign conditions for the first time in almost three years. India was bundled out for 36 in the second innings and eventually lost by eight wickets. Wriddhiman Saha scored 13 runs across both innings, but the manner in which he seemed to gift his wicket hurt.

India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Photo | PTI)
India Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha (Photo | PTI)

Wriddhiman Saha: Rishabh Pant Done Well And Should Be India’s First Choice Keeper In 6 Tests In England Including WTC Final

Wriddhiman Saha was then dropped. After seven Tests and two landmark series wins against Australia and England, the Adelaide debacle back in December remains his last outing for India. Rishabh Pant has earned widespread accolades for leaving an indelible mark on home conditions as well, with both the bat and the gloves.

Virat Kohli’s men will now travel to the UK for the WTC final against New Zealand and a five-Test series against England. Rishabh Pant, quite naturally, is touted to keep wickets unless some extraordinary circumstances arise. Wriddhiman Saha has accepted it. In fact, the 36-year-old was magnanimous enough to concede that his almost-certain successor merits the place.

“Rishabh Pant played the last few matches of the World Test Championship, he’s done well and he should be our first-choice keeper inEngland. I would just wait, and if any opportunity arises, I will give my best. I will keep practising for that one chance,” Wriddhiman Saha said in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda.

Wriddhiman Saha was down with COVID-19 for more than a fortnight, thus casting doubts on his UK sojourn. However, he has recovered and is back with his family, all set to enter the pre-departure bio-bubble in Mumbai next week. BCCI on Thursday (May 20) announced Andhra wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat as the 25th member – supposedly a cover for Wriddhiman Saha.

Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)
Rishabh Pant. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Wriddhiman Saha, though, has attributed the late addition to the cushion of having three keeper-batsmen in the ranks, particularly in times hostile enough.

“I didn’t have COVID-19 during the last series but KS Bharat was still with the team. Now that I contracted the infection, people are labelling him as my ‘cover’. But I feel they have picked a third keeper bearing in mind the risk outside.” Wriddhiman Saha explained.

Wriddhiman Saha’s recent exploits have been nothing to write home about or maybe draw a conclusion regarding his current fitness level. However, he cleared the air and emphatically said he has been picked for a reason.

“If the team management didn’t have faith in me, then they wouldn’t have selected me only. But that I am on that plane is because they have some faith,” Wriddhiman Saha exclaimed.

Wriddhiman Saha would have to leave his wife and two daughters behind. He has also made peace with the fact that sport cannot take place in this pandemic-strewn world without quarantine periods. Wriddhiman Saha divides his time in quarantine between catching up on web series and working on his fitness.

Wriddhiman Saha Was Among 6 Cricketers Who Contracted Covid-19 Leading To IPL’s Indefinite Postponement

But in all fairness, the forthcoming self-isolation days won’t hold any comparison to the 15 days of uncertainty and trauma he went through at a Delhi hotel earlier this month. Wriddhiman Saha was among the six positive COVID-19 cases that led to the indefinite suspension of the 14th edition of IPL 2021 on May 4. For the record, numerous ground staff was also reported to have been infected.

KKR bowlers Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive on the morning of May 3, while CSK support staff duo of Michael Hussey and Lakshmipathy Balaji was confirmed to have contracted the deadly virus that evening. DC spinner Amit Mishra and SRH’s Wriddhiman Saha’s reports came out the next morning.

But Wriddhiman Saha started feeling the tremors on May 1 and wasn’t taken to the ground for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) match on May 2 afternoon. The SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) wicketkeeper-batsman confirmed the developments while divulging further details.

“We had one practice session before playing CSK on April 28. Then before the Rajasthan game on May 2, we had two training sessions. I attended both practices and on the night of the RR game, I suddenly started feeling cold for about 20-25 minutes.

“The Rajasthan match was over by then and I didn’t travel to the ground. It was on the third day on May 3 that I reported positive,” Wriddhiman Saha, who has scored 1,987 runs at a strike rate of 131.24 in 126 IPL games, elaborated.

But the idea that a microscopic element could derail the extravagant league didn’t even cross the virus-infected players’ minds.

“Before me, two players each from KKR and CSK, and Amit Mishra had tested positive. But none of us anticipated the postponement of IPL 2021.” Wriddhiman Saha stated.

Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor V.V.S. Laxman said his side needs characters like Wriddhiman Saha, who is making a comeback following an injury lay-off. - FILE PHOTO/ AKHILESH KUMAR
Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor V.V.S. Laxman said his side needs characters like Wriddhiman Saha, who is making a comeback following an injury lay-off. – FILE PHOTO/ AKHILESH KUMAR

There could have been possible breaches of the KKR and DC bio-bubbles. Varun Chakravarthy visited a hospital for a shoulder scan before having a meal with Sandeep Warrier, who then interacted with Amit Mishra during a training session involving players from both sides.

Confirming none of the SRH players breached the bio-secure protocols, Wriddhiman Saha speculated he caught the virus from a third-party source. He also opened up on the different situations in the UAE, which seamlessly hosted IPL 2020 in September-November last year across three venues.

“We used the airport, landed in Delhi and even played the CSK game there. So if I had contracted the virus at the airport, the symptoms could’ve shown up before or during the CSK game itself. I had interacted with a few CSK guys during practice, so I feel that could have been the source.”

“When we played in the UAE last year, there used to be no one around us even during practice sessions. But here, we are sharing the space with groundsmen, people outside the ground are also peeping through the gates or over the wall.” Wriddhiman Saha told Sportskeeda.

Should the remaining 31 matches of IPL 2021 not take place, the BCCI will lose revenue worth almost INR 2,500 crore. Wriddhiman Saha doesn’t see the season resuming, especially without the big names.

“Majority of the foreigners are from Australia, England and the West Indies. So I personally feel the resumption of the league this year is doubtful. Without the overseas players, IPL will just be a enhanced version of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy,” Wriddhiman Saha opined.

BCCI is scampering to find a small window to stage the second half of IPL 2021 before the T20 World Cup in October-November. While playing in England after the Test series remains the most viable option, sources tracking developments are keeping a close eye on the UAE too.

SRH is at the bottom of the points table with one win from seven games played. They also were criticized for frequent chopping and changing – they made 10 changes to their line-up across four matches after losing their opening game to KKR by 10 runs.

Wriddhiman Saha played the first two encounters, which eventually turned out to be the only two he would play in the curtailed tournament.

“Any player can flop in a couple of matches. But if the line-up is being continuously changed, no team would be able to settle down. I would suggest, not only for SRH, but any side to pen down their best XI and play that line-up for four-five matches straight. But then, it was the management’s decision, we can’t do much about it.” Wriddhiman Saha reasoned.

The think tank comprising of Trevor Bayliss, Tom Moody, and VVS Laxman made the headlines when they relieved talisman David Warner of captaincy duties, all of a sudden, after the sixth match. David Warner expressed disapproval over dropping Manish Pandey after the first three games. Wriddhiman Saha, though, didn’t delve deeper into the speculation.

“It is completely up to the team management – a player can warm the bench after performing well and can even play all the games despite not performing at all.” Wriddhiman Saha said.

Wriddhiman Saha has scored 8 runs off 15 deliveries so far in IPL 2021. He smashed 184 runs off just 122 balls across the final three league games of IPL 2020, before being ruled out with a hamstring tear ahead of the playoffs. Then came the Adelaide humiliation. He was only given two chances as an opener for SRH before a virus confined him to a room for more than two weeks.

When asked about the misfortune he has experienced late, Wriddhiman Saha said he tries not to get affected by his performances on the field. He added that he never compromises on practice and always strives for improvement.

“I try to be the same irrespective of the situation. Practice remains the same, irrespective of whether I am playing or not.” Wriddhiman Saha added in this regard.

He has spoken fondly of his time with CSK when he got some invaluable advice from the great MS Dhoni.

“Virat is in my team, so yeah I discuss cricket with him at times.” Wriddhiman Saha, who has amassed 1,251 runs from 38 Tests, mentioned.

Making India’s limited-overs sides now look like a distant dream for Wriddhiman Saha who is championing a bigger and noble cause. He once again insisted that postponing IPL 2021 was the correct decision.

“Before that, I want India and the rest of the world to recover from this pandemic. After that, if any opportunity comes, I would definitely want to play but before that I pray for the well-being of everybody,” he concluded.

Wriddhiman Saha might have his eye on the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament in September, and if time permits the Ranji Trophy, which is slated to begin in December.

AB de Villiers [Image-IPLT20]
AB de Villiers [Image-IPLT20]

Royal Challengers Bangalore May Continue With AB de Villiers As Keeper

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) director of cricket, Mike Hesson, has said that AB de Villiers will be a real wicketkeeping option in the upcoming IPL 2021 as the star cricketer has embraced the role before.

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s wicketkeeping options have been one of the much-discussed topics ahead of the upcoming 14th edition of the Indian Premier League. In less than two weeks, IPL 2021 commences on April 9 with RCB locking horns with five-time champions Mumbai Indians in the season opener.

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers. Image Credits: Twitter

Royal Challengers Bangalore Delighted With The Fact AB De Villiers Embraced Keeping And There Are Couple Of Other Keeping Options

Mike Hesson, the director of cricket with RCB, has said that star batsman AB de Villiers will be a real wicketkeeping option for the team this season after the former South Africa captain had donned the wicketkeeping gloves in a few IPL matches last year. According to Mike Hesson, AB de Villiers loved the role and wants to do some more this year.

AB de Villiers donned the wicketkeeping gloves in a few matches last year and he is expected to do the same this year if it fixes the balance of the playing XI, said the former New Zealand cricket coach in a video posted by the official Twitter handle of RCB.

“We were delighted with the fact that AB de Villiers loved wicketkeeping and he embraced it. He wanted to continue doing it, he is a real option. We now have a couple of other wicketkeeping options which is great. Mohammed Azharuddeen is a natural athlete with the gloves and in the field. We also have KS Bharat. He is a natural keeper (and) gives us different options as well,” he added.

Mike Hesson Steps Down As New Zealand Cricket Coach
New Zealand cricket coach Mike Hesson announced he was quitting, citing family reasons.© AFP

“We are not going to make the commitment now to you guys as to who will do what. We are really pleased with the options we have got and AB is certainly one of those.”

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s training camp is all set to begin next week on Monday (March 29) ahead of their opener against MI and according to Mike Hesson, AB de Villiers is scheduled to arrive on March 28.

“We have got players arriving all the way through till April 1. Finn Allen will be playing in T20I in New Zealand on April 1 and then he will come the day after… ABD arrives on 28,” he earlier said.

“It is very different than the last year where we had everybody together for a long period of time on the back of a period where the guys had not trained or played. So, this time it is different, we got players playing international cricket over here and overseas and domestic cricket up until a handful of days ago. So, we had to prepare in slightly different ways,” he added.

One of the biggest positives for Royal Challengers Bangalore from their campaign in IPL 2020 was the emergence of South Africa’s great AB de Villiers as a full-time wicketkeeper. The Bangalore outfit has decided that they will go with AB de Villiers as their first-choice wicketkeeper in the 14th edition too as it provides the required balance to the team and helps them in exploring the different combinations.

Royal Challengers Bangalore Has Several Options Apart From AB De Villiers As Keeper

Apart from AB De Villiers, RCB has two Indian keepers in their squad too in Mohammed Azharuddeen and KS Bharat. Both the players are coming on the back of a scintillating run in the domestic tournaments and were picked by RCB during the auction for IPL 2021. Finn Allen is the other option for the keeping slot. He was added as a late replacement for Josh Philippe, who had pulled out his name from the league owing to personal reasons.

Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore. Image Credits: Twitter

The Virat Kohli-led side is all set to start their training and practice for the upcoming league on March 29. They will be locking horns against the Mumbai Indians in the inaugural game of the tournament on April 9 in Chennai.

Sanju Samson, IPL 2020
Sanju Samson. Photo Credit: Getty Image.

Five Wicketkeeper-Batsmen Who Could Play For India Under New Selection Panel

Earlier this month, Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) selected India’s new chief selector Sunil Joshi and the other selector Harvinder Singh who replaced Gagan Khods of the central zone. Joshi took over the reins of ex-chief selector MSK Prasad.

As the new members are included in the selection panel, there will surely be some changes in the strategy of selection. In the process, some new players might get chances while for some, the chances to get selected might get less.

In the current Indian team, the only position which is still in question of wicketkeeper-batsman.

After MS Dhoni has left that place, India had tried the youngster Rishabh Pant who has drastically failed with wicketkeeping. Pant’s injury gave KL Rahul to don the glove. Has India done experimenting with this position or still finding an option?

The answer is still not known.

Here, we have discussed the five wicket-keeper batsmen whom the new selection panel can give a chance in the foreseeable future. Let’s take a look.

Five Wicket-Keeper Batsmen Who Could Play For India Under New Selection Panel:

Srikar Bharat

Sarkar Bharat, opener, Test Cricket

The wicket Keeper batsman can prove to be beneficial to the team. He has played 78 First-class matches scoring 4283 runs with nine centuries and 23 half-centuries. The Andhra player is the most consistent player since his first-class debut in 2013.

Last year, he was called in the team for the replacement in the Indian team for the home series. However, he could not get the place in the final XI.

The youngster is the regular face in India A team. So, he could get the chance and he could line up as one of the wicketkeeper-batsmen to feature for India under the new selection panel.

kevin pietersen, pietersen, rishabh pant, india national cricket team, ipl, indian premier league,

India vs Australia: KS Bharat Called As Rishabh Pant’s Replacement For Second ODI

After Rishabh Pant has been ruled out of the second ODI match of the ongoing home series against Australia due to a concussion injury, India has called up the Andhra player KS Bharat as the back up of KL Rahul. This is the second time that Bharat has been called as the back up in the Indian national cricket team.

In the first ODI match, Rishabh Pant, on the short ball of Pat Cummins, got the top edge and the ball deflected to the helmet, presenting a dolly to backward point where Ashton Turner was standing. Pant was diagnosed with a concussion as the ball hit the helmet which led to his ouster from the rest of the game.

Thus, the wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul, who has the experience of wicketkeeping in the domestic circuit, had to keep in the Mumbai game. Currently, Rishabh Pant is in NCA and is likely to return in the third ODI which is in Bangalore.

KS Bharat, Rishabh Pant, India vs Australia
KS Bharat.

For the second ODI, KS Bharat will join as the back-up of KL Rahul. Earlier, during the first pink-ball game against Bangladesh, the team management called him as a backup to Wriddhiman Saha as Rishabh Pant – along with Shubman Gill – was released to play domestic cricket.

Pant’s absence in the batting order might give a chance to Manish Pandey or Kedar Jadhav. Pandey has played impressive innings against Sri Lanka in the Pune T20I where he led the team to the finishing point. While Kedar Jadhav also has a good experience to tackle the tough situation. The allrounder Shivam Dube is also the option, but India is not looking for him in the 50-over format.

manish pandey, india national cricket team, India vs Australia, ODI series
Manish Pandey.

Meanwhile, after facing a drastic defeat in the Wankhede Stadium (Mumbai) by ten wickets, India will head to play the second ODI match in Rajkot today (17th January). It is a must-win game for India to retain themselves in the rave of this three-match ODI series.


IPL 2020: Five Unsold Wicket-Keepers Who Could Return As Replacements

The next edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) is around the corner as its buzz has already started. In the recently concluded IPL 2020 auction, fates of some players changed overnight as they became millionaires. The player who should be mentioned is – Pat Cummins, who was the most expensive player in the ended auction, earning INR 15.50 crore.

In 338 players in auction pool, a total of 62 players were sold in the IPL 2020 auction. Unfortunately, some players will not get the chance to play in the 13th edition. But there can be few lucky players who can replace any injured cricketers at later. Chris Gayle is one of the examples who came as a replacement player in RCB and had prolific editions.

So, here we will discuss that five wicketkeepers who went unsold in the IPL 2020 auction but can come as the replacement.

5.Kedar Devdhar

KedarDevdhar, Ipl 2020 auction

The Baroda player has been regular in the domestic side. He has shown prolific performances with the bat in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019-20 and Vijay Hajare Trophy 2019-20. In 68 T20s, he has scored 1866 runs at an average of 29.15. He has hit one century and 11 half-centuries in the shortest format.

The wicket-keeper batsman played only one match in IPL for Decan chargers in 2011. He entered the IPL 2020 auction for the base price of 20 Lakh but went unsold. Seeing his current performance, he can get the chance as a replacement for a wicketkeeper in the 13th edition.

Virat Kohli, century, captain
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: ICC Twitter)

Virat Kohli Wins Hearts With His Action For KS Bharat

The third day of the day-night Test match ended with India registering the victory against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens (Kolkata). India has recorded seventh consecutive Test win which is the longest win a row. Virat Kohli-led team have entered the new fashion of a Test match with a positive note.

India dominated the field in Kolkata. The visitors showed no temperament to play the Test match and lost early wickets. Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav caught the Bangladesh batsmen easily with their strategies.

Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, day night test amtch, KS Bharat
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane

In the historic Test match, new records were formed. Virat Kohli became the first Indian cricketer to score a century in the pink-ball Test match. He also scored his 20th century as a Test captain and registered 70th International century in his career. He also became the fastest captain to score 5000 runs in Test cricket.

Virat Kohli wins the heart

Virat Kohli won the hearts of all the cricket lovers with his gentleman action. The skipper handed over the trophy to KS Bharat as soon as he got from BCCI’s president Sourav Ganguly. The tradition was started by the former Indian captain MS Dhoni and now, is continued by Virat as well as Rohit Sharma. In the Bangladesh T20I series, Rohit Sharma handed the trophy to debutant Shivam Dube.

KS Bharat was added in the team as a cover for Wriddhiman Saha after Rishabh Pant was released to play the domestic tournament, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The Andhra wicketkeeper is impressive with his glove as well as bat in domestic cricket.

Kona Srikar Bharat, India, Test series, Virat Kohli
Kona Srikar Bharat (Image Credit: Google)

The 26-year-old has played 69 first-class cricket, 51 List A and 43 T20s. In first-class cricket, he has scored 3909 runs at an average of 37.58. The player is still waiting for his international debut.

Rishabh Pant, New Zealand XI vs India 2020,
Rishabh Pant. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Rishabh Pant Released From Test Squad To Play Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, KS Bharat Called Up As Cover

The Indian team management has released wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant to play the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Delhi have qualified for the Super League stage and will be playing next two games on November 24 and 27. As per a report in PTI, Rishabh will be playing all six games against West Indies and the selectors thought that he should get game time ahead of the series.

Also Read: Michael Vaughan Congratulates Sourav Ganguly And Wishes That India Will Play Pink Ball Game With Australia

The youngster has now lost his Test spot to Wriddhiman Saha, who has played all the four matches at home in the ongoing season and is currently doing the wicketkeeping duties in the ongoing pink-ball Test match. Rishabh earlier wasn’t released for any of the matches but now, the management decided to let him get some game time.

Rishabh Pant Released From Test Squad To Play Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, KS Bharat Called Up As Cover 1

They have called up Andhra Pradesh’s wicketkeeper-batsman KS Bharat, who was also a part of the Duleep Trophy 2016/17, the first time when BCCI organised day-night matches with the pink ball. Andhra Pradesh haven’t qualified for the super league stage of the tournament. Bharat was close to getting selected for the tour of West Indies but with Saha coming back, there was no place for the youngster.

Saha looks set to do the wicketkeeping job at least till the end of ongoing World Test championship. He is now 35 and might go on to play for next two-three years.

India, Bangladesh, Day one
Ishant Sharma. (Image Credit: BCCI Twitter)

Talking of the ongoing pink-ball Test, India had an upper hand at the end of day 1, courtesy combined efforts from the players. Winning the toss, Bangladesh once again decided to bat first and the decision backfired as they lost half of their side on 38. Riding on Ishant Sharma’s five-for, India packed the visitors on 106.

Also Read: Watch: Indian Team Wins The Heart Of Fans, Sets The Example Of Sportsmanship

Bangladesh did remove both the Indian openers for 43 but Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli put up 94 runs for the third wicket to manage the things. At stumps, the home side was 174/3 after 46 overs, holding a lead of 68 runs.

There were two concussion substitutes on day 1 – Liton Das and Nayeem Hasan were replaced by Mehidy Hasan and Taijul Islam.