Kolkata: Rest of India snatched away victory from the current Ranji trophy champions Gujarat, defeating them by 6 wickets to lift the Irani trophy. It was Wriddhiman Saha who delivered a talismanic performance in the second innings. The double ton couldn’t have come at a better time as it was against a team led by Saha’s rival for the national wicketkeeper’s job, Parthiv Patel.
The unbeaten partnership of 316 runs between Wriddhiman and skipper Cheteshwar Pujara, which is the second highest in the history of the Irani trophy, turned things around for Rest of India as Gujarat were in a better position at the end of the 1st Innings. Pujara scored a prolific unbeaten 116 runs while Saha himself scored an unbeaten 203 runs. His innings comprised of 26 fours and six sixes. It was a tremendous comeback for Rest of India as they were reduced to 63 for the loss of 4 wickets.
This however didn’t affect Saha at all, who stood as a rock and drove towards victory, while Pujara took the back seat and provided him with all the support. He too contributed heavily to the partnership. “The way Saha approached the innings made (all) the difference” said Rest of India’s skipper Cheteshwar Pujara.
Saha recently lost his test berth to rival wicket keeper batsman Parthiv Patel due to injury problems and couldn’t play the India England Test Series. However, Patel could only manage to collect 11 and 32 runs in this match and was completely overshadowed by Saha. This was his maiden test double hundred in a first class match and it shall heavily contribute to his return to the Indian test team’s starting 11.
On skipper Pujara, Saha quoted, “I had not given it a thought about scoring a double century, until Pujara came and told me. The idea only came when I reached 180 runs. His (Pujara) presence at the other end made my job a lot easier. I am grateful to him for helping me reach the milestone.”
Sources reveal that the Indian team is preferring Saha over Parthiv Patel for the upcoming and eagerly anticipated test series between India and Australia. We also got to know that the Head Coach of Indian Cricket Team, Anil Kumble took the initiative to text Saha the day before his phenomenal knock to wish him luck and to motivate him.
On being asked about this, Saha told “He (Kumble) sent me a text message last night reminding me that my job is not yet over. He urged me to finish the match. I was happy that I was able to do so”
Saha, who is said to have got motivated from veteran Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag became the first stumper to score a double hundred in the Irani Cup. The significance of this knock wasn’t only restricted to Rest of India’s glorious win over Gujarat, but also added to the chances of him being selected to play for India in the upcoming test series.
(With inputs from agencies)