Final call regarding Wriddhiman Saha's inclusion will be taken closer to Mumbai Test: Paras Mhambrey

Saha batted with a stiff neck in the Kanpur Test.

Wriddhiman Saha
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Wriddhiman Saha. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Pratyay Tiwari
PRATYAY TIWARI

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The final call regarding the inclusion of Wriddhiman Saha will be taken “closer to the second Test”, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey confirmed on December 1.

Saha batted with a stiff neck in the Kanpur Test and dragged the team out of trouble in the second innings through his gritty, unbeaten half-century, stringing crucial partnerships with the lower order to help India set New Zealand a stiff 284-run target.

The 37-year-old took a break from the duty behind the gloves in both the innings, with substitute KS Bharat taking the charge. In the absence of the rested Rishabh Pant, Saha has been the first-choice keeper, although it is understood that Bharat will make his debut in Mumbai if the former is not declared match-fit by the physios.

“We will take a call closer to the game. Physios are in constant touch with Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli. Closer to the game, we can take a call on what condition he is in. Whatever he did in the last game was a fabulous effort. It was painful to bat, but he raised his hands and delivered for the team,” Mhambrey said during a virtual media interaction ahead of the Mumbai Test, starting December 3.

India’s regular skipper, Virat Kohli, who was rested for the three T20Is and the first Test, will be back to lead the side, with the team facing a selection conundrum. Debutant Shreyas Iyer scored 105 and 65 in the first encounter, making his exclusion unlikely. However, with Kohli’s entry, India are all but sure to sit out at least one of the players from the previous XI, if not more.

“It is a good [headache to have]. We have so much talent available and that speaks volumes about Indian cricket. With youngsters coming up, we want to give them an opportunity and someone like Shreyas comes up with a 100 and follows up with a 50 – that’s fabulous. That speaks volumes about Indian cricket and the way forward. But then, we have to see the combinations that would suit the particular wicket. We are happy to have that kind of problem,” Mhambrey said.

Asked about the recent form of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, Mhambrey reckoned the senior pros are just a “knock away” from getting their mojo back. “It is both for Ajinkya and Pujara – they have huge experience. We also know that they are one innings away [from finding form]. We are backing them. They have played enough cricket to understand what is expected from them and get going,” he said.