Home > Features >

Wriddhiman Saha’s ton in IPL 2014 final may prove to be turning point in fledgling career

India have to utilise Wriddhiman Saha’s (above) potential as they need a sound backup to MS Dhoni © IANS
India have to utilise Wriddhiman Saha’s (above) potential as they need a sound backup to MS Dhoni © IANS

Wriddhiman Saha’s ton in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 final may help change the course of his career. He scored an unbeaten 115 for Kings XI Punjab against Kolkata Knight Riders. The effort went in vain as KKR won their second IPL title in the end. But the innings from Saha could prove to be the turning point in his career, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

Wriddhiman Saha would quietly go about his job on most days. His wicket-keeping is clean and he goes unnoticed behind the stumps; with the bat in hand he normally has a conventional approach. But, on the big day, he delivered for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and helped them post a huge total in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 final. It was an innings that showcased his ability, which seemed to have been hidden in this format. It is unfortunate that he did not end up on the winning side, but this ton could well be the turning point of his career.

Through the season, KXIP have handed Saha the responsibility of batting in the top-order. On many occasions, he has been sent ahead of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller to provide the stability and then get on with it. Early in the IPL, he did get off to starts, but couldn’t convert it. Then came his half-century against Mumbai Indians. He started off slowly, but then attacked to make up for that start. Even then, one felt he had some distance to go to settle into the format.

Perhaps, the innings that changed Saha’s approach was the one against Sunrisers Hyderabad. In the face of a 200-plus total, Saha was sent in at No 3 when Virender Sehwag fell in the first over. Saha then fearlessly took on the bowling and carted a half-century inside 22 deliveries. It wasn’t just that he took on the bowling, but played good cricketing shots along the way. Thus, he did not move outside his zone and backed his game to deliver the results.

It was that approach that helped him come up on top against Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla. He used his feet and lofted them with a straight bat. However, his approach while facing Narine was interesting. He waited on the back-foot, eyeing the ones pitched short and waiting until the last minute to play his shots. That was a vindication of sorts as he successfully took on one of the most successful bowlers in T20 cricket.

Saha has been an understudy to MS Dhoni for a few years. In Test cricket, he has been the No 2 wicketkeeper on overseas tours. He has sound wicket-keeping technique and collects the deliveries at a good height. His batting has been gritty in the two Tests he has played so far. In One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Saha was trumped by Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik. However, this innings would show that he can be a handy batsman in one-day cricket as well.

With the Bangladesh tour coming up, Saha gets a chance to establish himself as the understudy to Dhoni in ODIs. He will get the three games as a wicketkeeper and that will help him make an impression. India have to utilise his potential as they need a sound backup to Dhoni. Saha has shown confidence in the past, but his batting has also come to the party now.

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

Photos

CSK vs KKR, Match 1 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Pakistan selectors thinking of dropping Younis Khan from ODI squad

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kane Williamson’s ton for Northern Knights against Cape Cobras proves that T20 isn’t all about slogging

Furious MS Dhoni and CSK check out of Hyderabad hotel following Biryani episode

Herbert Chang: The Jamaican of Chinese origin who wasted his life in South Africa

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kings XI Punjab’s batting gets the extra punch with Thisara Perera’s inclusion

Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes Hobart Hurricanes vs Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes KKR vs CSK Kolkata Knight Riders Northern Knights Pakistan

CLT20 2014: We didn’t field well, says Cape Cobras skipper Justin Ontong

Sachin Tendulkar’s 15-a-side idea rejected by Mumbai Cricket Association

Arjun Tendulkar scores 118 off 48 balls in Smaash Master Blaster Tournament

CLT20 2014: KKR take on spirited Lahore Lions

West Indies women defeat New Zealand women by 4 runs in dramatic last-over finish

Don Bradman plays his final innings in England

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Dolphins vs Perth Scorchers, Match 4, CLT20 2014 — Key battles

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Barbados Tridents CLT20 2014 Match 5: KXIP’s likely XI

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kane Williamson’s ton for Northern Knights against Cape Cobras proves that T20 isn’t all about slogging

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

Happy New Year song Lovely: Deepika Padukone sizzles in this seductive number!

Beware, sitting for too long may cause early ageing

#UberMINI: Users in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore can book a free ride in a MINI today

iPhone 6 launch: Fans queue up across the world

Harsh Vardhan announces November 7 as the National Cancer Awareness Day

Leaked: Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss 8 performance pictures!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here