Just as a reserve goalkeeper in any sport has to await his chance till the established one gives way, the scenario has become the same for modern day wicketkeepers.
Drafted into the Bengal side after regular glove-man Deep Dasgupta opted for the rebel league, Wriddhiman Saha’s century on his Ranji debut was instrumental in propelling him to the Indian T20 league stage where Kolkata signed him in 2008. Despite having McCullum and Taibu as specialist keepers in the team, the former’s reluctance to don the keeping gloves and the four-foreign player rule resulted in him playing a major chunk of the tournament and he displayed his batting talents with a half century. He was later bought by Chennai in 2011. Saha couldn’t get many chances with Dhoni taking the gloves and other prominent batsmen edging him easily into the playing XI. However, the 2014 season provides him with a new dawn as he was picked by Mohali in the auction, with no other specialist keeper in the squad.
A few fine performances for India A later helped Saha earn his maiden Test call-up in early 2010 as the team’s reserve wicket keeper with his chances of debuting next to impossible. However India’s bizarre decision to go into the series with just seven specialist batsmen backfired as Laxman and Rohit Sharma injured themselves before the game and with little time left, Saha was quickly drafted in as a specialist batsman. The nerves showed as he got out on a duck in the first innings but was more watchful in his second scoring 36. Dropped thereafter, he returned to the ODI version in late 2010, debuting against New Zealand after MS Dhoni was rested for the series. In 2011, he earned a surprise call-up to India’s ODI squad for the series in the West Indies, in the absence of most of the senior players.