Wriddhiman Saha turns down request from Cricket Association of Bengal to play Ranji Trophy knockouts

Wriddhiman Saha in action for the Gujarat Titans (GT). Pic: IPLT20.COM
Wriddhiman Saha in action for the Gujarat Titans (GT). Pic: IPLT20.COM
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Renin Wilben Albert

Indian wicketkeeper-batter Wriddhiman Saha has turned down a request from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), asking him to be part of the Bengal team for the Ranji Trophy knockouts. Bengal are set to play Jharkhand in the quarterfinals from June 6 in Bengaluru.

Saha (37) is currently part of the Gujarat Titans (GT) franchise in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. With 312 runs in 10 matches, he has been one of the key members of the team that has reached the final of the T20 tournament in its maiden season.

CAB president Avishek Dalmiya has confirmed the veteran cricketer’s unwillingness to represent Bengal in the Ranji Trophy knockouts. An official statement from Dalmiya read:

"The Cricket Association of Bengal wanted Wriddhiman Saha to play for Bengal at this crucial juncture especially when Bengal would be fighting in the Knockout stage in a bid to win the Ranji Trophy after becoming the top-ranked team in the country at the end of the Group Stage."

The statement added:

"I had expressed this to Wriddhiman and had requested him to reconsider his decision. However, Wriddhiman has now communicated to us that he is not willing to play the Ranji knockouts."
Wriddhiman Saha has now left Bengal team's WhatsApp group before the Ranji trophy knockouts.

Saha as well as seasoned Team India pacer Mohammed Shami were initially included in the Bengal team for the knockouts. Following the development, Sportskeeda reported that the keeper-batter is mulling leaving his home state association, Bengal, and claiming an NOC (No Objection Certificate) for the same.

Saha and CAB not on the same page

A controversy broke out earlier when CAB joint secretary Debabrata Das questioned Saha’s commitment after he decided to skip the league stage of the Ranji Trophy due to personal reasons. Back then, Saha had just been dropped from the Indian Test team for the home series against Sri Lanka. Das, hitting out at the cricketer, was quoted as telling the media:

"Wriddhi has no responsibility towards Bengal cricket. When he is not in the Indian team, he should play for Bengal.”

The experienced wicketkeeper, often considered one of the finest glovemen the country has produced, has been in the news for controversial reasons in recent months. Immediately after being sacked from the Indian team, the ‘hurt’ cricketer spoke to the media and revealed details of his conversation with BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and head coach Rahul Dravid.

Not long after that, he shared screenshots of threatening messages he received from a journalist over his refusal to give an interview. The journalist was recently banned for two years by the BCCI following an investigation into the incident.

Edited by Prem Deshpande
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