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The case for Saha

by Homer

Two debutantes played for India in the first Test at Nagpur. The first was a domestic colossus. The other, a little known wicket keeper and another journeyman cricketer in the domestic leagues. The first was a surety to be in the playing squad even before it was announced. The other was just happy to be there.

The first was aware of his impending debut well before the squad was announced ( owed mainly to injuries to key players). The other came to know of it on the morning of the test. The first had pedigree. The other, spunk.

And it pretty much went according to plan. Everyone questioned the other's selection. Many were unhappy that he was being played as a specialist batsman ( a role that even he would tell you, he was not cut out for). Before the first day ended, the other had been written off, called a one test wonder, his test cap questioned. The first was the one to deliver for Team India - the ideal replacement in the famed middle order.

And come Day 3, everyone's worst fears and greatest hope came true - the first scored 56, the other 0. And that is where the story should have ended.

Except when the team was under cosh in the second essay, following on, the first scored 6, lasting 45 minutes, scoring one boundary and lasting all of 31 balls. The other, in the meanwhile, scored 36, lasting 150 minutes, playing 101 balls, with four boundaries.

And then the most obvious thing happened - the other got dropped, the first held on to his place in the side.

This is not a critique of Subramanian Badrinath, who has done enough and more to demand his selection in the Test team.

This is in praise of Wriddhiman Saha, a wicket keeper forced to play as a specialist bat, a man written off by all and sundry before he took the field, a man who showed enough bottle to fight the fight in the second essay when the chips were down and his own neck was on the chopping block and on the back of a scoreless first innings..



This is a salute to what he brings to the plate - character. A quality our current selection panel is sorely lacking in!

19 comments:

pRAFs said...

Poor kid was thrown off into the deep end.
But such is life.
doesn't help if the Selector's brains are full of batshit.

kudos to the kid for doing as much as he did.
reminds me of tatenda taibu :)

Bhaskar Khaund said...

Yeah gotta feel for him , that was definition fall guy ,wasnt it...but if i hv to talk salute , mine goes to dale steyn ..now THAT's a fast bowler ! unbelievebale perfmnce on a wcket like this...shame amla got the MOM cos we'd have got whupped even if the saffers had got 200 less in the first innings...looks like we're always getting whupped by SAF,no ? :(

Homer said...

Bhaskar,

Dunno about the whooped part till the series is over. But I agree that we contrive to play our worst cricket against them :)

Cheers,

Mahek said...

Karthik has hardly scored when he hasn't opened and I wouldn't have a problem if they'd retained Saha. I'm glad he showed he could fight it out. A couple of years and he might just be the first-choice backup (Does that sound weird?)

Naked Cricket said...

Homer, both your city and post packed punch today. Tops!

Som said...

Homer, can't agree more. It's convenient to bag Saha but then why blame the chap for the blunder our selectors made? His debut innings ended before he could actually realise and his 2nd innings was all gut and gumption.

Thiru Cumaran said...

I'm generally looking for ways to justify the selection of TN guys (such as 'They rarely get selected' and 'They deserve it for their hard work without rewards') but, frankly, the selection of DK rings a similarity with that of Rohit...

Yes, DK got twin 150s against West Zone, but he was just dropped in favour of Saha! Besides, I feel that Saha got a raw deal. It wasn't his fault that he was thrust in as a specialist batsman. Rather, DK now looks to have got in on regional bias rather than merit! :(

Honestly, IMO, Saha should've been retained as a reserve keeper, not as a batsman! :(

raj said...

Absolutely. I only wish DK gets played in the second test, and once for all exposes his uselessness in the middle order against quality attacks. There are Sahas and Goswamis coming up the ranks.

Badri deserves one last chance- if he can't score a 100 in the second test or save India from a difficult situation, we must move on to the Rainas and Pujaras.(even Kohlis)

straight point said...

take a bow homer!

lets hope that the career of more sahas won't get swahaa to the whims and fancies of selectors...

Kartik said...

Good old Saha, but it wasn't purely a selection screw up. Even the selectors couldn't predict Rohit Sharma being a no show on the morning of the game. Everyone knew Laxman was out for ten days, why didn't he sit out to begin with?
Don't mean to sound like sour grapes, but that banana swing started with the ball being changed at tea time. Some kind soul handed over a perfectly `kept' ball to Steyn and co because the one they were using prior to that had it's seams split . Dhoni cheekily referred to it too.
But hats off to Steyn anyway. He was swinging it with the new ball as well.

Homer said...

Prafs,

"Selector's brains are full of batshit" - pretty much sums up this selection panel :)

Cheers,

Homer said...

Mahek,

Give his exposure for the A Team, and KKR, its not as weird as you think!

Cheers,

Homer said...

Cheers NC :)

Homer said...

Som,

The irony is that now Srikkanth defends the Saha selection by saying he gutsed it out.. Then why drop him for the second test?

Whatever our selectors have been smoking, make it legal!

Cheers,

Homer said...

Thiru,

With just one Test to play, why have a reserve keeper? I mean, even when we travel overseas, unless it is a 5 Test series, we rarely, if ever, carry a reserve keeper.And to think we are playing at home!

Cheers,

Homer said...

Raj,

Karthik wont get a look in unless Dhoni is injured. And since Krish Srikkanth has categorically stated that they wont pick players who are not 100% fit, Dhoni sitting out wont happen.

Which begs the question, 15 players for what?

Cheers,

Homer said...

Cheers SP :)

Homer said...

Kartik,

The screw up is not that he was picked, the screw up is that he is dropped. After playing a gutsy knock.

"The whole thing would not have blown up had Rohit played. The questions that are being raised are about Saha's selection... he is actually a wicketkeeper who can bat a bit. But he proved himself well in the match," Srikkanth told CNN-IBN.

If the above quote is true, how can Srikkanth's mob justify dropping Saha?

And the biggest tragedy of all is that the BCCI is paying these guys 40 lakhs for coming up with such dumbass selections!

Cheers,

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