Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
India wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha has admitted that the 35 runs he made in the fourth Test against Australia in Adelaide two years ago was much more satisfying than his century in the Indian Premier League (IPL) final.
However, Saha conceded that his IPL century would have “tasted sweeter” had the Kings XI Punjab defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders in the final.
“Although the context was completely different, I would rate the innings of 35 in the Adelaide Test and a century stand for the sixth wicket with Virat Kohli closer to my heart,” Saha told PTI. “I am proud of the century in IPL final but that was a Test match. Virat was batting brilliantly and I could support him in his bid for the maiden Test hundred.
“Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle bowled during that phase. I played 94 balls and it was my second Test match. Till I got out, I wasn’t uncomfortable against pace and swing, which gave me confidence that I can play at the highest level. This IPL century would have tasted sweeter but need to accept that KKR collectively batted better than us. We could never stop them from maintaining that run-rate.”
Saha specifically targeted West Indies spinner Sunil Narine during the final as he scored 35 runs off the 18 balls that Narine bowled to him. Saha also noted that he did not try to read Narine’s variations.
“Since I was playing Narine for the first time, I decided that I won’t try to pick him from his hand,” he said. “Rather, I decided to stay on the backfoot and wait for that extra split second so that ball does what it intends to do. Rocking back helped me execute those slog pulls effectively.”
Saha added that he sees himself more as a wicketkeeper than a batsman since he is accustomed to coming in lower down the order.
“I am a specialist wicketkeeper whose job is to also do well with the bat,” he said. “Keeping was, is and will remain the top-most priority. For example, in this upcoming tour of Bangladesh, I will not bat higher than No. 6 or No. 7. I am practical about the fact. I won’t bat before Ajinkya (Rahane), Cheteshwar (Pujara) or Suresh (Raina). So I would rather see myself as a keeper-batsman than other way round.”