Veteran India and Bengal wicketkeeper-batter Wriddhiman Saha has opted out of the upcoming Ranji Trophy 2022 edition. This update came after PTI reported that Saha was told by BCCI that he will not be needed for the upcoming two-Test match series against Sri Lanka at home which begins in Mohali on March 4.
Having made his India Test debut in 2010, Wriddhiman Saha has played 40 Tests and scored 1353 runs with three hundreds and an average of less than 30 which became his undoing. He however had 104 dismissals behind stumps, 92 catches, and 12 stumpings.
With Rishabh Pant already cementing his spot behind the stumps with impressive glovework against England at home on turning pitches in Chennai and Ahmedabad last year, the BCCI selectors feel that 37-year-old Saha must make way for the young KS Bharat, who kept well in a Test against New Zealand in Kanpur recently, as a substitute wicketkeeper.
“Wriddhiman has been categorically told by influential people in the team management that they want to move on and create some new back-ups alongside Rishabh Pant. He was explained that he won’t be picked for the Sri Lanka Tests as it’s time that Kona gets his share of exposure with the senior team,” a senior BCCI source privy to developments told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Wriddhiman Saha Opts Out Of Bengal Ranji Trophy 2022; Informs CAB Officials
Saha is an experienced campaigner in India First-Class cricket as well, playing 122 FC matches, scoring 6423 runs with a best of 203*. He has 350 dismissals in FC cricket for various teams. He also has 2762 runs in 102 List-A games, while in 209 T20s, Saha has made 3650 runs with two centuries.
The BCCI official also said that after being told that he won’t be needed in the Indian team anymore, Saha must have felt that there is no point in playing Ranji Trophy for Bengal and hence informed the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) officials of his decision.
“May be that’s the reason, Wriddhiman had informed Cricket Association of Bengal president Abhishek Dalmiya and joint secretary Snehasish Ganguly that he would not play Ranji Trophy this season for ‘personal reasons’. That’s why the Bengal selectors didn’t pick him as he was unavailable for selection,” the source added.
Bengal selection committee, headed by Subhamoy Das, on the day named a 22-member squad, including two wicketkeeper batters Abhishek Porel and Shakir Habib Gandhi, for the group league phase.
“During meeting chairman of selectors Subhamoy had asked secretary and convenor of senior selection committee Snehasish Ganguly about Wriddhi’s availability. They said that Wriddhi has informed that he shouldn’t be considered for Bengal for Ranji Trophy for the season. It was a bit weird.
It is understandable that if he is not going to play for India anymore in Tests, then why would he have motivation to play Ranji Trophy after playing 40 Tests. While he might be feeling low, but at 37 and half years of age, it is only natural that team management won’t want him as Pant’s understudy,” a source close to Bengal team management said.