Wriddhiman saha

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Being called best wicket keeper in the world

Statistics in cricket are finally evolving but we still have the problem of missing the trees for the forest. Landmarks, milestones, grand numbers are given weightage over in-game numbers. In the SSC Test, for example, it was debated if the one-off Bangladesh Test is indeed a series, and if India are thus on an eight-series winning streak or seven. A double of 250 wickets and 2000 Test runs was manufactured so that we could say R Ashwin is the fastest to another mark.

However, a simple statistic, right there on the scorecard was missed. On that treacherous pitch with balls exploding out of some areas and staying low out of others, Wriddhiman Saha conceded zero byes in the second innings, which lasted 116.5 overs.

Batsmen were beaten 111 times in the whole innings; a further 62 were left alone. Some of them kept low, some of them exploded off a length and turned sharply, especially when Ravindra Jadeja fired them in at around 100kmph, but none went past Saha. A member of India's support staff put on the TV after the SSC Test finished, and saw Quinton de Kock let two sets of four byes go through off the bowling of Keshav Maharaj.

"I had seen Saha keep all day, and now I was watching this," the support staff member said.

A trained wicketkeeper - Saha in this case - will tell you that this assessment of de Kock was perhaps a little harsh. "I enjoy keeping to him [Jadeja] on such wickets," Saha said. "On such wickets if a lot of balls come to the keeper it is good, otherwise we only get 10-12 balls all day coming to us. If you get more balls coming to you, then you are always more focussed, so I enjoyed keeping to Ashwin and Jadeja on this wicket."

Saha was not comparing his and de Kock's work, but it put in some perspective how it can be difficult for wicketkeepers when only a few of the balls misbehave in a day. However, it doesn't take away from the sight what Saha as a keeper was. Even thought he had two sessions when not many balls came to him. Then, towards the end of it, one lobbed well in front of him. It was an offcutter from Hardik Pandya that took the inside edge, hit Kusal Mendis' back thigh pad and ballooned up. Saha dashed forward from his station, dived full length and plucked it inches from the ground. That is a catch he holds dear.

"When he got the inner edge, I thought he will be bowled," Saha said. "The ball came in but hit the pad and lobbed up, the pace was slow so I got more time to get to the ball and I could dive because of that time based on my assumption. It was a good wicket."

Read dull article here - http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/20272689/being-called-best-keeper-big-morale-boost-saha

27th April 2018