Saha grows with stature each passing game
1st October 2016
Wriddhiman Saha is someone you would lose easily in the crowd. Diminutive, demure almost invisible in his presence. However, all that changes the moment he walks out into the ground. He suddenly grows in stature, the five feet something lean frame becomes a tough surfing board that can take on the waves in a rough sea.
He did this reputation no harm when he remained unbeaten on 54 against New Zealand today, that helped India push the envelope beyond the 300 mark.
Saha got his break into first class cricket, when Deep Dasgupta went and joined, the now historic, ISL. And boy didn't he make the most of it. He became the 15th Bengal player to score a century on Ranji debut.
Dhoni's retirement from Test cricket after the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne in 2014 opened the doors for Saha, who had long been his understudy, honing the skills and getting ready for the day when he would walk out.
Assured and nimble footed behind the stumps, he has excellent glove-work. And over the last two years he has added an array of stroke-play to his repertoire that makes him a valuable number six or seven, as used. A century in the Caribbeans firmly seated him as the wicket-keeper batsman in the team that had a short top order and a long lower order, as India preferred to go with five bowlers more often than not.
Wriddhiman Saha added sheen to his reputation of scoring vital runs in the lower-order as he remained unbeaten on 54 off 85 balls. The innings was much better paced than it looked as at the other end wickets kept going. He never allowed the bowlers to settle down, driving and cutting with consummate ease.
He hit seven boundaries at varying pace, sometimes placing between point and gully, sometimes driving over mid-off and at other times playing very late into the third man boundary. The two sixes he hit needs special mention as they stood for defiance against some very tight Kiwi bowling.
The most impressive feature of his play was the lateness, closeness of the bat to his body, his defensive play, particularly against the odd ball that jumped at him, and his head-down steely- jawed determination. He put a price on his wicket and it was not cheap.
What he didn't have was the natural ability to bat, but he compensated that with his determination to graft and never give up or in.
CAB MEDIA DESK
Arindam Basu: 9830388835