Life hasn’t been easy for Wriddhiman Saha over the past nine months. The Bengali player had solidified his position as India’s Test wicketkeeper after Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s retirement, but a thumb injury during the Indian Premier League last year marked the beginning of his career spiraling out of control.
Up until the IPL fixture between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders on May 25, 2018, Saha was a well-established international cricketer with 32 Tests under his belt. But the injury he suffered that day, followed by a shoulder surgery three months later, has kept the 34-year-old on the sidelines and facilitated the rise of young Rishabh Pant as India’s first-choice ‘keeper.
Now, after months of rehabilitation and training, Saha is all set to make his comeback to competitive cricket. He will take the field for Bengal in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s, which begin on February 21. Bengal play their first match against Mizoram at Cuttack.
“I’m very close to 100 per cent. I will play the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. I’m returning to Kolkata after February 15 and will join the Bengal team’s conditioning camp on February 16 or 17. There’s no time to play a club match (before the national T20). If the CAB asks me to play a club game before playing for Bengal, I will do that,” Saha was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
During his rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, Saha trained under the watchful eye of former India wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra. The duo worked extensively on Saha’s glovework and fitness.
With his return imminent, it will be fascinating to see if Saha can get back his Test spot from Pant. The 21-year-old from Delhi has impressed one and all over the past year with hundreds in England and Australia. It’s been a tough road for Saha so far, and it isn’t going to get any easier.