As the Virat Kohli-Anil Kumble drama played out in the open, opinions were divided and all hell quite simply broke lose. While the vast majority pointed fingers at the BCCI's inability to handle the matter in a manner deemed as amicable, a small section even questioned the skipper actions.
Amidst all of this and India's successful campaign in the Caribbean, India's Test match wicketkeeper is quietly regrouping for the gruelling season ahead. India played 13 Test matches at home season and Wriddhiman Saha emerged as a new star. If his bat proved to be more than handy at crucial junctures, his glove-work was splendid.
Ahead of India's tour to Sri Lanka, Saha spoke exclusively to Sportskeeda.
Q: Were you satisfied with your performance in the long home season?
Saha: One should not get satisfied so early. Similarly, I am far from being satisfied and I think the season was good for me but I need to perform much better. I will try my best to perform better in the upcoming tour.
Q: Your wicket-keeping has been the talking point. You took few blinders. Even people are calling you Superman-Wriddhiman. Your take?
Saha: I tried to perform my job. I reacted to the situations and they happened. I keep myself fit and practice hard. The outcome was good for me as well as for the team.
Q: How do you see ‘Captain’ Virat Kohli?
Saha: Virat Kohli is a true leader. Since the time I started playing, he has been really good to me. He gets close easily with all the members. Not only on the field, but off the field as well. The team has a great unity under Virat, we enjoy each other’s success. Like Mahi Bhai (MS Dhoni), Virat always motivates players and comes up with positive words in all the situations. Virat has created a positive environment in the dressing room.
Q: What were your take-aways from IPL 2017?
Saha: IPL taught me to play according to the situation. With every passing game, IPL teaches you something new. It makes you a better player under pressure and the experiences in IPL are a big bonus.
Q: What was Anil Kumble’s impact on you and the team?
Saha: Firstly, we went to West Indies under Anil Bhai and he said that I should play as the way I play for Bengal. He asked me not to take much pressure. He shared his experiences with the team which was a great help.
Q: How do you see Kumble’s resignation and Ravi Shastri’s comeback as the head coach?
Saha: This is not our decision and as players our only aim is to win matches. Whoever comes in as the coach, the main priority will always remain the same and that is to win matches for India. Every coach has a specific duration and we have to accept it. Ravi Bhai (Ravi Shastri) gave some great inputs when he was the director of the team and now I am looking forward to getting some more valuable inputs from him.
Q: There is a notion that during Anil Kumble’s tenure as coach, the dressing room environment was not very open. Was that the case?
Saha: See, I get along well with everybody. I never felt that way. We used to crack jokes, have fun. I strongly feel the same will happen when Ravi Bhai will come. During the Test matches I didn’t see anything wrong. I have no clue if anything had happened during the ODIs.
Q: How do see India’s defeat in the Champions’ Trophy final against Pakistan?
Saha: You can’t win always in cricket. People are criticising because it was final and that too against Pakistan. Nobody remembers how well India played in the entire tournament. India even beat Pakistan convincingly in the first match. It’s unfortunate that on the day of the final things didn’t go according to the plan. It happens in cricket.
Q: How are you preparing yourself for the upcoming Sri Lanka tour?
Saha: As far as the preparation is concerned, I am mostly hitting the indoor nets due to monsoon. At the moment, I am focusing more on training and will do some knocking in coming few days. Full-fledged practice will take place once we reach there. We will have practice matches too so that will surely help us.
Q: Do you have any personal goals set for yourself?
Saha: See, everyone wants play in all the formats. I will keep on trying to play for the country in ODIs. That remains somewhere in my mind but I solely focus what is there in my hands. I have to perform well every day in whatever opportunity comes my way.
Q: How difficult it is to replace MS. Dhoni?
Saha: It indeed feels great that I am standing at the spot for India where Mahi Bhai used to stand for years. But, there is no way one can compare me with him. He played for years with pride; he made the entire country proud time and time again. He is a legend, he played so many matches. Unless I play a similar number of matches I don’t think I should be commenting on this.
Extra cover: Wriddhiman Saha: MS Dhoni's true successor?Published 13 Jul 2017, 19:33 IST