Kolkata: They are competitors, but even then Wriddhiman Saha is all praise for younger counterpart Rishabh Pant. The veteran Bengal wicket-keeper has said that Rishabh Pant will certainly improve his keeping skills like someone masters ‘algebra’ gradually. On the other hand Wriddhiman Saha said that he will also strive to improve as much as he can.
Saha is considered India’s number one wicket-keeper, said he does not see Pant’s heroic show as the end of road for him in the Indian team. He said he will continue to strive for excellence, leaving the selection headache to the team management.
“You can ask him (Rishabh Pant), we have a friendly relationship. Whoever gets into the XI, we help each other. Personally, there’s no conflict with him,” Saha said Friday.
“I don’t see who is No. 1 or 2. The will give a chance to those who do better. I will continue to do my job. Selection is not in my hands, it’s up to the management,” he added.
Saha was all praise for the 23-year-old Pant. It was the latter’s 89 not out that sealed the match for India at the Gabba to win the series 2-1.
“No one learns algebra in class 1. You always go step by step. Pant is giving his best and will definitely improve. He has matured and proved himself. In the long run, it augurs well for the Indian team,” Saha stated. “The way he has shown his intent after being sidelined from his favourite T20/ODI formats was really exceptional,” added Saha.
Since the Brisbane show, Pant’s comparison with the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni has only grown. However, Saha said ‘Dhoni will remain Dhoni and everyone has his own identity’.
Saha scored nine and four in the Day/Night Adelaide Test where India were shot out for a record low of 36. He did not play in the remaining three Tests.
“Anyone can go through a bad phase. A professional player always accepts the highs and lows, be it with form or criticism,” the 36-year-old said. “I was unable to score runs and that’s why Pant got the chance. It’s as simple as that. I always focused on improving my skills and never gave a thought to my career, even when I started playing cricket. It’s the same approach now,” added the Bengal glovesman.
Saha said the series win was ‘no less than a World Cup triumph’. He is very happy because of the way the team bounced back from 36 all out in Adelaide. “Even though I did not play (in three matches), I enjoyed every moment of it. We faced challenges in putting up XI players, so it was an outstanding feat, an outstanding team effort. Definitely, it will be one of our greatest series wins,” asserted Saha.
Saha said India may not have known the outstanding depth in their reserve bench had they not faced the crisis of missing players. “It was about instilling self-belief and going session by session. The series win last time also played in our minds,” Saha said.
Saha feels stand-by captain Ajinkya Rahane’s success mantra was staying calm even in the toughest situations. “He goes about his job with a cool head. Like Virat Kohli, he too has full of belief in his players. Unlike Virat, he never shows any excitement.
“Approach is a bit different, Rahane stays calm always, never loses temper. He knows well how to motivate the players. That is his success mantra,” Saha signed off.