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Prepared to Play Limited-overs Cricket if the Chance Comes: Wriddhiman Saha

Even amid competition from the young Rishabh Pant, it is Wriddhiman Saha who is relied upon behind the stumps in red-ball cricket.

Prepared to Play Limited-overs Cricket if the Chance Comes: Wriddhiman Saha

Wriddhiman Saha has been in some stunning form for India in the longest format of the game, and even amid competition from the young Rishabh Pant, it is Saha who is relied upon behind the stumps when it comes to white-ball cricket.

In an interview with Firstpost, Saha revealed that he would still love to play for India in ODIs or T20Is, given the shorter formats of the game are what he enjoys the most. In nine ODIs for India, Saha has 41 runs to his name at an average of just 13.67, which he will hope to improve upon should he get the chance.

He has a much better IPL record, with 1765 runs in 120 matches at an average of 23.85. In List A cricket, Saha has 2762 runs in 102 matches, at an average of 42.49.

“Honestly speaking, I enjoy playing the shorter format the most,” Saha said. “I am ready to deliver whenever I get a chance to play for India at any stage. So I am still prepared to play limited-overs cricket for India if the opportunity comes.”

Saha was quizzed on a range of subjects, one of which was the upcoming pink ball Test that will be played between India and Bangladesh at Eden Gardens later this month. Saha said even though he has the experience of playing a Day-Night match with the pink ball in domestic cricket, he expects the Eden encounter to be a whole different ball game.

“Firstly, there will not be much time between the Test matches and we may not get a lot of time to adapt. Then we will have to face the challenge of playing under lights. I have played in a club match under lights, but this will be an international match, hence more challenging.

"Last time it was a Kookaburra ball and this time it will be SG ball and hence we will see a major difference. Also, dew can create a problem for the bowlers. For 'keeping, more than dew, the visibility of the pink-ball can be an issue.”

On Rishabh Pant, Saha said, “He is performing very well at such a young age. He has already proved himself as an outstanding player in IPL and for India. If he can continue like this and improve more, the Indian team will be benefited in the long run. Rating him, though, is not my job. All I can say that his age is on his side and he has ample time to work on his career.

“It doesn’t matter whether the competition is with Dhoni or Pant, I have always given my all in practice like it is a match. I have kept myself ready for any upcoming chances. My focus is not on competition but on delivering the best for the team. The rest is not in my hands.

Saha was handed his Test debut by India’s former coach Gary Kirsten and he has always been in and around the Indian cricket scene since then. Injury management, then, becomes a big part of ensuring that players have as long of a career as possible, especially after having a lengthy lay-off due to a shoulder injury that required surgery.

On trying his best to keeping fit, Saha said, “Injury is a part of sports. Football players also suffer a lot. There is no point in thinking about it. I try to focus on recovery. Some may not like to take much risk after getting injured. But I try to go back to the previous state and never compromise. I was in NCA during this period and it did help a lot.

“I am still working on my fitness and trying to keep myself away from injury. Age is an important factor here as recovery time for a 20-year-old would be faster than a 35-year-old for the same type of injury.

"Currently, it is very important to remain fit to play longer in this team. Competition is very strong and hence being on top of the fitness level is an absolute necessity,” he signed off.

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