Wriddhiman Saha is regarded as one of the best wicketkeepers in the world © AFP
Wriddhiman Saha is regarded as one of the best wicketkeepers in the world © AFP

In a surprising move, Bengal have not picked Wriddhiman Saha in the XI for the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 semi-final clash at Pune. Saha, a Test specialist for the national side, was available for selection as he is not a part of India’s limited-overs leg against Sri Lanka. Since India would not be playing practice match in South Africa, BCCI have cleared the Test specialist to play Ranji playoffs. The likes of Saha, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav were expected to participate for their respective sides.

Ishant pulled out due to injury while Shami and Umesh are playing for Bengal and Vidarbha respectively. With Writtick Chatterjee slamming a double-century against Gujarat in the quarter-final, the competition for places stiffened as vice-captain Sudip Chatterjee was declared fit for the semis .But Saha was down with fever and hence Bangal went with the in-form Chatterjee. Sreevats Goswami will continue to don the gloves behind the stumps. Bengal have elected to bat.

Live Cricket Score, Ranji Trophy 2017-18, semi-final: KAR 36-3, BEN 269-7 at stumps
Live Cricket Score, Ranji Trophy 2017-18, semi-final: KAR 36-3, BEN 269-7 at stumps

Saha, in his last appearance for Bengal, scored a fighting 97 against the strong Vidarbha side at Kalyani. It was the only game that Bengal lost this season. Bengal’s last Ranji Trophy title win was in 1989-90, and they faced Delhi in the final. The clash is touted as the contest between two men who have a bit of history between them, Manoj Tiwary and Gautam Gambhir.