Wriddhiman Saha has been confirmed as the wicket-keeper, sidelining Rishabh Pant in the three-Test series against South Africa starting on October 2.
It was in January 2018, Saha played his last match for India against South Africa in Cape Town, after which he has met with a shoulder injury. Later, Saha went through a surgery in the month of July after a conclusion came out over the nature of his injury following his participation in the Indian Premier League.
Moreover, in the recently concluded West Indies tour, Saha was in the Test squad but didn’t take part in the play as Rishabh Pant continued to keep wickets after his notable performances as a stand-in.
Despite Pant scoring hundreds in England and Australia, he was under criticism for his shot selection from the team management that questions about his place in the Test cricket.
Pant averaged 44.35 with two centuries and two half-centuries in the 11 Test matches he played. But in the recently concluded West Indies tour, Pant managed only 58 runs in three outings.
On Tuesday, Indian skipper Virat Kohli revealed that Saha was close to playing in the West Indies Test series as well but felt that this was the best time to bring him back into the fold.
“Saha’s keeping credentials are there for everyone to see. He’s played well for us whenever he’s got a chance with the bat for us also. It was unfortunate that he was out for such a long period with an injury, and according to me, he’s the best keeper in the world. In these conditions, and with what he’s done for us in the past, he’ll start for us.” – Virat Kohli said.
“Yes, we felt like Rishabh given the opportunities had done well. Although Saha was almost going to start, we felt that it was better to let him ease back into things rather than forcing him to start immediately. We all felt that he’s just come back, although he’s keeping well, he’s batting well, we felt that it was fair to give Rishabh a few more opportunities because of what he has done in the past season for us.” – he added.
“Saha was always someone who we would back as a pure keeper in Test cricket. He’s done well under pressure situations for us. It was all about finding the right opportunity and the moment to bring him back in. You need to be wary of these things in a team environment where you understand when to bring a player back or when to give another guy more opportunities.
“I think these are very delicate things. You can always look at the hindsight whether the timing was right or not. But you just go with your gut feel along with the team management and then you take a call and stand behind your decision. I feel for now it is the right time for Saha to come back and get into his own and we all know what he can do with the gloves and with the bat as well under pressure situations,” – Kohli said.