MSK Prasad backs Saha as India's first choice keeper

Sport360 staff 19:28 24/01/2017
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Saha is all set to get the nod.

There has been a lot of discussion over whether Wriddhiman Saha or Parthiv Patel will don the wicket-keeping gloves for India in the Test against Bangladesh in February.

While Saha is the number one choice, his injury opened the door for Patel in the Test series against England and the Gujarat keeper took the opportunity with both hands.

The two faced-off against each other during the Irani Trophy over the past five days and it was Saha who came out on top. The Bengal wicket-keeper’s career-best 203* helped Rest of India chase down 379 in the fourth innings.

Speaking after the match, chief selector MSK Prasad mentioned that Saha played in the Irani Trophy to prove his fitness, a policy the Indian team has been following.

“We had made it clear that someone who is coming back from injury, had to play in a domestic game and this was the best opportunity,” said Prasad.

“Right now Saha and Parthiv are the best numbers one and two that we have. It was only to test fitness that we had Saha play here.

“Personally, I can say that Wriddiman Saha was out of the team because of injury and not because he was out of form. He was ‘Man of the Match’ in the Kolkata Test against New Zealand and got a hundred in West Indies.”

Prasad further added that, while Patel deserves credit for his performances against England and for leading Gujarat to their maiden Ranji Trophy title, Saha is still the number one choice for Team India in Tests.

He cited Saha’s ability with the gloves, even more than the bat, as one of the key reasons behind his thinking.

“I am happy how Parthiv has responded to the call-up. He is a fighter to the core. He single-handedly brought Gujarat from nowhere to being the Ranji champions,” said Prasad.

“He is in our scheme of things. There is just a minor difference between the two. When it comes to Test cricket, it is always the man who keeps better who gets the nod.

“Parthiv’s glove-work has definitely improved. But Saha has got better hands and that’s where he scores little more points than Parthiv. With today’s batting, Saha showed why he is the number one keeper-batsman in the country.”

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