Ranji Trophy 2021-22: Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami picked in Bengal squad for quarterfinal

Shami's participation will depend on approval from BCCI and India head coach Rahul Dravid.

Wriddhiman Saha
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Wriddhiman Saha (Photo Source: Twitter)

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Wriddhiman Saha has rejoined the Bengal team, three months after pulling out of the league stage of the 2021-22 Ranji Trophy season, ahead of the quarter-final against Jharkhand scheduled on June 6 in Bengaluru. Pacer Mohammed Shami has also been added to the squad by the  Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). His participation, however, will be subject to BCCI and head coach Rahul Dravid’s approval, taking into consideration his workload.

However, it is the 37-year-old Saha’s return that is causing a stir, considering that he missed the league stage due to “personal reasons”. After Saha was left out of India’s Test team for the home series against Sri Lanka, it was revealed that he had been advised by head coach Dravid that he might not be in the plans moving forward.

Saha has been mighty impressive in the ongoing IPL 2022 playing for the Gujarat Titans. The wicketkeeper batter has played some crucial knocks accounting for the team’s victory. In just eight matches, he has amassed 281 runs at an average of 40.14 and a strike rate of 123.24. His knocks include three half-century scores, one of which earned him a “Player of the Match” award too.

Apart from Saha, the Bengal team has the second wicketkeeper in Abhishek Porel, who has shined in his absence. Shreevats Goswami, the experienced wicketkeeper, was once again left out of the team. Goswami nowadays is playing club cricket in England. Mohammed Kaif, Shami’s younger brother, and Ankit Mishra, the left-arm spinner who performed effectively at the Under-25 level, are also a part of the team.

Mohammed Shami’s fate will be decided by the BCCI

Shami has been a regular in the Indian Test squad, and the team departs for England soon after the conclusion of the IPL. The two teams will play one Test match, which was postponed last year due to the Covid-19 scare. According to ESPNCricinfo, the ball is in the court of BCCI and Dravid, who will take a final call upon Shami’s inclusion in the Bengal Ranji side.

Bengal will be up against Jharkhand in the first quarterfinal which is set to begin on June 6. The final game of the Ranji Trophy 2021-22 is scheduled to begin on June 22.

Squad: Abhimanyu Easwaran (capt), Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Mohammed Shami, Anustup Majumdar, Sudip Chatterjee, Shahbaz Ahmed, Abhishek Raman, Writtick Chatterjee, Sayan Sekhar Mondal, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Ishan Porel, Koushik Ghosh, Ritwik Roy Chowdhury, Pradipta Pramanik, Karan Lal, Nilkantha Das, Sudip Gharami, Abhishek Porel, Mohammed Kaif, Ankit Mishra.