New Delhi: India’s first choice wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha is unlikely to make the cut for the Test series in England. Saha had injured his thumb during the IPL and while it was initially believed that he would be fit in four to five weeks, the recovery hasn’t gone as per plan and he was seen sporting a soft plaster even last week. Dinesh Karthik, who stepped in for Saha for the one-off Test against Afghanistan, is likely to continue in the role.
Saha has lost the battle to get fit in time for either the four-day ‘unofficial’ Test against England Lions from Monday at Worcester or the four-day warm-up match against Essex, which starts on July 25 in Chelmsford. The team management has been very vocal about players acclimatising to conditions before taking the field for the senior team and that is the reason some of the top-order batsmen are expected to play in the India ‘A’ game.
Speaking to CricketNext, a source in the know of developments said that more than the healing of the thumb, the lack of match practice was also something that makes it difficult for the player to make the Test squad for the first match of the series in Edgbaston from August 1.
“Saha’s injury hasn’t healed as per plan and to be fair there isn’t a chance that he would be match-fit when the team takes the field in the first game. Even though he was working on his fitness all this while, he could not keep wickets or bat with the soft plaster on. Game time is also something that the current management is looking into and it has been a while since Saha last played any form of cricket.
“Some of the Test specialists are already in England and will be a part of the unofficial Test against the England Lions and Saha now doesn’t look like he will make it even for the Essex game. In such a circumstance it is only fair that someone like Karthik gets his chance as the player has been with the team and is aware of the conditions on offer. Also, he was the one called in to replace Saha for the Afghanistan Test,” he said.
The selectors are expected to pick the squad after the ongoing ODI series and could even wait for the unofficial Test to get over on July 19 before announcing the squad.
Another selection dilemma will be whether to go ahead and bring back fit-again pacer Mohammed Shami, especially with Jasprit Bumrah set to miss the first Test and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar suffering from a bad back. Shami passed the Yo-Yo test a couple of weeks back after failing to clear it before the Afghanistan Test.