Indian cricketer Wriddhiman Saha wishes to focus on perfecting his game rather than worry about National selection
Judgments pegged on superficial suppositions always conceal more than what they reveal. Wriddhiman Saha belongs to a group of men that exemplify this line of thought. Beneath the 27-year-old's shy exterior resides an abounding gusto for the game of cricket.
A solitary Test match and three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) figure right at the top of Saha's curriculum vitae. The Bengal wicket-keeper's doughty 36 on debut against South Africa last year fetched him plenty of acclamation. That, however, didn't ensure a smooth path to progress. With Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni being the first-choice ‘keeper and Parthiv Patel finding success as an opener in ODIs, Saha has clocked considerable time on the periphery.
While he was part of the squad in the West Indies and England for the Test and limited-overs legs respectively, Saha's role was confined to carrying drinks. Surely, it must have been frustrating? “I don't look at it that way,” Saha replies. “I just look to improve my game and it's something that doesn't happen overnight.”
According to Saha, the touring experience did present several learning opportunities. “I made the most of the practice sessions in the West Indies. The senior players were really helpful and gave me very good inputs. In England, keeping to deliveries which wobble a lot in the practice matches was a great challenge”
His acrobatic fielding has served as a useful string to his bow. Saha attributes that to his fitness regimen. “I love keeping myself fit. I put my heart into it and enjoy it completely,” says Saha who has played 35 first-class games and scored 1879 runs (Average: 41.75).
The Chennai connection
He has had a fairly productive stint with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. “There is a professional team culture here. You get to interact with players from different countries and that's always beneficial.”
Saha also aspires to learn the local language. “Chennai is a very nice place. I would love to learn Tamil. (Murali) Vijay and (Ravichandran) Ashwin have taught me a few words. For now, all I can manage is saapteengala (have you eaten?),” he smiles.
A quiet man by nature, Saha loves to spend time with his family and friends. “They are my support system. I don't like being in crowded spots and so I don't go out much.”
Victim of pranks
Has he been a victim of pranks in the Indian dressing room? “Thankfully not,” laughs Saha. “Every team has different characters. (Shanthakumaran) Sreesanth is the funny guy in the Indian dressing room.”
Saha has ushered in this year's domestic season with some good performances. Some impressive performances in the N.K.P. Salve Trophy were followed by an unbeaten 167 in the opening game of the Ranji Trophy against Gujarat.
He is not willing to get carried away though. “My long-term goal is fixed — I want to play for India. But I am taking it match-by-match and not thinking too far ahead. My focus is on becoming a better player.”
Role-models: Sachin Tendulkar, Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist.
Other sports: “I love watching Bengal football and Formula One. Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel are my all-time favourites.”
Stress buster: Spending quality time with family and friends.