Wriddhiman Saha, the veteran wicketkeeper who has been left out of India’s Test squad for the home series against Sri Lanka, has said that head coach Rahul Dravid told him after the series defeat in South Africa that the team management would look at playing new wicketkeepers going forward in the longest format.

In an interview with Sportstar, Saha said he was told that the team was keen to give chances to younger talents.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the squad for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka that comprises three T20 Internationals and two Tests on Saturday. The big talking point, besides the appointment of Rohit Sharma as captain of the Test team, remained the exclusion of veteran players Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha.

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“Rahul bhai said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but for a while, a few selectors and the team management are thinking of trying a new keeper’,” Saha was quoted as saying.

“I asked him whether it is because of my age or fitness, but Rahul bhai told me that it is not just because of age or performance. They were looking at younger talents, and since you are not playing in the eleven, we thought of looking at other talents.”

Saha added that he he isn’t thinking of retirement at the moment and with the Indian Premier League coming up, there’s still plenty of cricket left in him.

It was reported on February 8 that the Bengal wicketkeeper had pulled out of Ranji Trophy as he had already been informed that he is unlikely to be selected in the Indian team against Sri Lanka. Saha revealed in the interview that he had to skip the ongoing leg of Ranji Trophy to be with his family.

While announcing India’s squad for the Sri Lanka Tests on Saturday, Chetan Sharma, head of the senior selection committee, said that age is not a criteria for selection to the team.

“I can’t tell you on what grounds he [Saha] has been dropped. That’s for selectors. All I can tell you is that he was told before and asked to play the Ranji trophy, which is the ladder for the Indian team. What we discussed between ourselves we can’t tell you,” said Chetan.

“Why he did not play Ranji, the state association CAB can tell you that. That is not my jurisdiction. As selectors, we wanted them to play. We are not looking at age. When there are youngsters sitting outside, we thought we shall give chance. For these two test matches. But it’s important to play Ranji. Else, how will we know if you are match-ready?”

Saha, in his interview with Sportstar, spoke about the conversation he had with the chairman of the selection committee. The keeper-bat said he was told by Chetan that his exclusion from the team was unlikely to be restricted to just the Sri Lanka series.

Saha, who has played in 40 Tests so far, also spoke about a conversation he had with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, who he claimed had assured him that he shouldn’t worry about his place in the team.

“When I hit an unbeaten 61 taking a pain-killer in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur last November, Dada (as Sourav was referred to by Bengal players) congratulated me over Whatsapp,” said Saha.

“He even mentioned that I should not worry about anything so long as he is at the helm of the BCCI. Such a message from the board president really boosted my confidence. But I failed to understand why everything changed so fast.”