Veteran wicketkeeper-batter Wriddhiman Saha is mulling leaving his home state association, Bengal and claiming an NOC (No Objection Certificate) for the same, Sportskeeda has reliably learnt. The development comes less than 24 hours after the 37-year-old was included in the Ranji Trophy knockout squad.
After opting out of the league stage of the Ranji Trophy earlier this year citing personal reasons, Saha’s future with Bengal has been further shrouded by uncertainty. The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has already been informed, but Sportskeeda understands that further talks will take place once the former Bengal captain returns from IPL duties with the Gujarat Titans.
Saha might also have been taken aback seeing his name in the squad. But CAB's standpoint remains that he had withdrawn himself just from the group stage.
"We could have spoken to him before picking him. But then we should have asked everyone else by that means, because no one said anything about being available or unavailable for the knockouts," a source close to the team told Sportskeeda.
It is also learnt that Wriddhiman Saha was hurt by people questioning his commitment to Bengal cricket after he had pulled out of the first phase of this season's Ranji Trophy.
There seems to be no sign of relenting to the already tumultuous year that Saha has endured. After being snubbed by the Indian team, he got entangled in a needless controversy with a journalist just before the IPL, which required the intervention of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
He even faced the music for revealing chats with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and head coach Rahul Dravid to the media. But if CAB are to halt the move, Ganguly, who has been one of Saha's staunchest support systems, has to play a major role in it.
Bengal’s Ranji preparations in a fix with Saha saga
With Mohammad Shami also likely to be unavailable, the Bengal team’s build-up to the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy starting June 6 has been sent into a tizzy following the murmurs about Wriddhiman Saha. It remains to be seen if he at all joins the squad in Bengaluru.
As for Shami, the Indian cricket board wants the fast bowler to go on a hiatus post the IPL and be fresh for the England tour in July. Bengal bolstered their 22-member squad with the inclusions of Shami and Saha and now a lot will depend on the leadership of Abhimanyu Easwaran if he can’t avail of the services of the two senior pros.
Bengal squad: Abhimanyu Easwaran (c), Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohammad Shami (subject to BCCI clearance), Anustup Majumdar, Sudip Chatterjee, Shahbaz Ahmed, Abhishek Kumar Raman, Writtick Chatterjee, Sayan Shekhar Mandal, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Ishan Porel, Koushik Ghosh, Ritwik Roy Chowdhury, Pradipta Pramanik, Karan Lal, Nilkantha Das, Sudip Kr. Gharami, Abhishek Porel, Mohd. Kaif, Ankit Mishra
The team will fly out on May 27, play two practice games against Karnataka (May 29 to 31) and Uttarakhand (June 2 to 3), before taking on Jharkhand in the quarter-final tie.
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