India’s hopes of completing a whitewash against depleted South Africa got off to a poor start in the opening session of the third and final Test.
Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were the star bowlers for the Proteas, who head into lunch with their opposition restricted to 71/3. The latter mentioned has experienced a dream first wicket in Test cricket, claiming Virat Kohli via lbw that went with the umpire’s call.
After sizeable triumphs in the opening two Tests, the hosts now have it all to do in Ranchi.
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Sourav Ganguly plans to have a fresh look at the revenue share the BCCI currently receives from the ICC after being picked as the unanimous choice for the Indian cricket board’s next president.
Speaking publicly for the first time since filing his nomination for the post on Monday, Ganguly pointed to BCCI’s reduced revenue share in the reworked ICC model of 2017 as one of his top priorities in his new role.
“That’s one area, we will have to take care of it because we have not received any money in the last three-four years from the ICC,” the former India skipper stated.
“Money in the sense what you deserve because India generates 75-80 per cent of the global revenue, so that is going to be one of the big agendas. Talks and discussions need to happen and we need to find a solution because this is not leading anywhere,” Ganguly added.
BCCI used to previously receive approximately 17 per cent of the total ICC revenue but that number was brought down to about 12 per cent in the model that was adopted in 2017.
Ganguly’s tenure at the helm of the BCCI will be a short one with the former India captain needing to step down from his role in September, 2020 to serve a three-year cooling off period.
Despite the short length of his stint, Ganguly hopes to make major changes for the board and that includes a revamp of its image which has taken a hit in the last three years.
“We have a lot of things to do. To get the administration in order because administration involves a lot of things, to get the house in order, to get the office in order, and most importantly cricket,” the 47-year-old said.
“It’s a very important time in Indian cricket administration because of what all has happened in the last three years.
“To be in a position where I can make a difference along with the administration team would be extremely satisfying so hopefully, in the next few months, we can put everything in place and bring back normalcy in Indian cricket.”
Ganguly was not initially the frontrunner for the BCCI top job with Brijesh Patel being the reported favourite for the president’s role. However, a dramatic turn of events over the past weekend has seen the highly respected former India skipper become the unanimous choice for the post with his election expected to pass through unopposed.
When India announced their playing XI for the first Test against the Proteas, quite a few eyebrows were raised at the inclusion of Wriddhiman Saha.
It was assumed that he had lost his place to Rishabh Pant who became the first Indian wicket-keeper to score centuries in both England and Australia, while filling in for Saha.
However, Virat Kohli had no doubts in the ability of Saha and declared that he was the best Test keeper in the world at the moment.
The 35-year-old suffered a shoulder injury in 2018 but has forced his way back into the Test team after good performances in the Syed Ali Mushtaq Trophy and in the series against South Africa-A team.
In the first two Tests against the Proteas, the wicket-keeper’s adroit glove work has earned him plaudits from his team-mates and pundits. After the Pune Test, Umesh Yadav graciously attributed two of his wickets to Saha, after the Bengal keeper dove full-length to complete the catches. On both occasions the victim was Theunis de Bruyn, with Saha leaping in front of first slip in the first innings and completing a mirror image of the same grab down the leg-side in the second innings.
“I need to give him a treat because I think those two wickets are Wriddhi bhai’s only,” Umesh Yadav said at the end of the match. “When you put the ball outside leg stump you think it’ll be a boundary, but if there is a little bit of a chance to convert a catch, we know he will take it.”
While standing up to the stumps for the spinners, Saha’s keeping has been immaculate, collecting balls that takes off from a length after pitching on the rough with consummate ease. His quick reflexes were on display when he held on to a sharp chance to dismiss Faf du Plessis when the South African skipper inside-edged a delivery from off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The keeper juggled twice before holding on at the third attempt.
After the match, Ashwin commended Saha’s skill and also reminded everyone of his capabilities with the bat as well.
“It’s a no-brainer to say that Saha is one of the best going around, and I’ve hardly seen him miss anything,” Ashwin said. “Even from the rough today, for Jaddu, as you saw today, the ball that Rabada [tried to] cover drive. Those are all just indications showing how good a keeper [he is], and what a good set of hands he’s got. And Saha’s obviously got great composure too, and you can’t really rule him out with the bat either. He’s had some really handy contributions for the team, so he’s a great character and a great keeper to have in the side.”
Rishabh Pant might get a chance in the third Test at Ranchi considering that it is a dead rubber but he will continue to remain Wriddhiman’s Saha’s backup in the longer format.