Wriddhiman Saha unintimidated by the sudden spotlight on him

Wriddhiman Saha has been part of the dressing room which has faced withering defeats in the last few weeks Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Adelaide: Jan 20, 2012

Unfazed by the sudden spotlight on him, India’s reserve wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha today said he is not intimidated by the prospect of having to fill in for Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps in the fourth and final Test against Australia starting here on January 24.

“I will play ball by ball. It doesn’t worry me what has happened or what could happen,” said Saha, who will play only his second Test match next week.

Saha’s moment has come because of a ban on regular keeper and skipper Dhoni for India’s slow over rate during the third Test in Perth last week.

Saha’s first Test had come against South Africa in 2010 at Nagpur when Rohit Sharma, at the last minute, cried off due to an injury. The wicketkeeper on that occasion played purely as a batsman and made 36 runs in one of the two innings.

Saha is mindful of the bounce inherent in Australian pitches but believes his previous experience of the country would now be useful to him.

“I had come here with the Emerging Players’ team and it (bounce) wasn’t any problem. I know what it takes to keep here,” said Saha.

Saha stressed that he never plays under pressure in any given match.

“Be it domestic, Ranji, Duleep or even club cricket, I have taught myself never to play under any pressure. Here too I would look to play my normal way.”

Saha has been the part of a dressing room which has faced withering defeats in the last few weeks but the young wicket-keeper avers the atmosphere couldn’t be better.

“The team has pulled together well. Everyone has been trying very hard despite the losses. It hasn’t been for want of effort. But then, as we know, anything can happen in cricket,” Saha said.

Saha, who has stayed in the background after keeping in the opening practice match against Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI in Canberra last month, is aware of the fact that Australians might look to bowl short-pitched deliveries at him.

“The wickets here, being what they are, they could be bowling back-of-length deliveries to us. We know it could happen but as a cricketer, you should be prepared to bat forward or backward, according to situation. “

After Dhoni was banned, Saha was informed of his inclusion by coach Duncan Fletcher in Perth itself. He is also the first player from Bengal, after Sourav Ganguly hung his boots in 2009, to represent India.

“For me, it’s India which comes before Bengal. I will try to do my best.”

Saha asserted the team’s morale is good despite suffering three losses to the hosts and says “there’s no embarrassment.”

Meanwhile, Indians wouldn’t be practising tomorrow as good quality net bowlers wouldn’t be available on Saturday.

“We had requested for today even if it was off day, to come to the ground, have a session and local authorities arranged it. I am told there’s some tournament on due to which the net bowlers wouldn’t be available on Saturday. So we will now practice next on Sunday,” Saha said. (PTI)