Very good chance of India winning this time in South Africa: Wriddhiman Saha

Jan 1, 2018

Between the Delhi Test and the Ranji Trophy semi-final in Pune, India wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha claims he hardly had any time to think about the impending tour of South Africa. And that goes for the team as well.

“Since we were in a hurry to go home, we really didn’t have any kind of team talk about the South Africa tour after wrapping up the Test series (against Sri Lanka) in Delhi,” Saha told Hindustan Times from Pune, where Bengal are playing Delhi. But Saha missed out on the action due to fever.

“There hasn’t been any specific preparation. The pitch or conditions in Pune won’t be similar to South African pitches so there is no point thinking too much about it,” said Saha.

With the Sri Lanka tour still going on, preparation for South Africa has been far from ideal but Saha said the first Test in Kolkata helped them get into the mould. “The bounce will be different in South Africa. So the Eden Gardens Test helped in giving us an idea about the conditions. Once you start training there (South Africa), you get used to the bounce and movement,” said Saha for whom this will be the first tour of South Africa though he had played there for India A earlier.

The Test squad leaves for South Africa on December 27, giving them a week to acclimatise ahead of the first Test in Cape Town. A two-day warm-up match was scheduled in Paarl, but India opted for training sessions instead. And Saha sees no wrong in that.

“If we had a two-day tour game, basically they would have batted one day and we would have batted one day. And to ensure everybody got a knock, some of the batsmen would have had to retire after making 20 or 30. I don’t see anything great coming out of that. But that doesn’t mean we will not have a good training there,” said Saha.

On the personal front though, Saha has already started planning for South Africa. “I need to figure out who might play in the first team and get a good idea about their bowlers. It doesn’t matter whether I bat at 6, 7 or 8 but I know I have to bat according to the match situation, either scoring quickly or be more relaxed in my approach,” he said.

The conversation had to veer towards discussing India’s chances in South Africa. Given the envious run India have had in the last two years though, Saha’s response wasn’t a surprise. “The way we have been playing the last 2-3 years and if we do our things right like the way we have been doing, I feel we have a very good chance of winning this time,” he said.

Dropping catches however won’t help India’s cause. The rubber against Sri Lanka was peppered with fluffed catches, especially in the slips. Despite having good catchers like Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara around, India haven’t had a settled look in the slip region. For someone who stands nearest to the action, Saha didn’t want to read too much into it. “Dropping catches is part of the game. The best fielders too drop catches,” he said.

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