IND vs SL: Dinesh Karthik sympathises with Wriddhiman Saha, but says Rishabh Pant nailed his place in Team India
IND vs SL: Veteran India wicketkeeper batter Dinesh Karthik said he understood Wriddhiman Saha’s disappointment when the team management decided to move on from him, but that the decision was acceptable because Rishabh Pant had “pretty much nailed his position in the side.”
Praising Saha’s wicket-keeping abilities, who was left out of India’s Test squad for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, Karthik said, “But you can see Rishabh Pant has pretty much nailed his place in the team. So then, you can understand which direction the Indian team is going in where they feel that if it’s going to be a second keeper role, then they’ll look at somebody younger.”
Karthik expressed sympathy for Saha, saying that it was difficult for a cricketer to accept rejection:
“I’m pretty sure from wherever I’ve seen with Wriddhiman’s interviews, he understands where this decision is coming from,” the Tamil Nadu cricketer said in the ICC Review.
“I know no cricketer is going to accept that when you’re being told to move on. It is a very hard one because this is what they’ve been doing day in and day out.
“All of us want to represent the country and that is the burning desire for everybody. So when somebody comes in says, ‘I think your time is done,’ it can be a hard one to swallow. But it is understandable and you have to understand where the selectors, the coach and the captain are coming from,” Karthik said.
Saha’s contributions to Indian cricket were lauded by Karthik:
“Kudos to Wriddhiman Saha. I think he has been one of those brilliant, quiet servants of Indian cricket who has done so well over a period of years.”
“He is still one of the best wicketkeepers in the world, by a distance. I rate him as the best wicketkeeper in the world. He has got great hands, he moves really well… he is a terrific wicketkeeper. And add to the fact, he has a few centuries in international cricket. And played some really crucial, important knocks when Team India needed it,” Karthik added.
However, Karthik felt it was understandable why the team management decided to move on from Saha with the arrival of Pant:
“Just like MS Dhoni came in all those years ago, we’ve had Rishabh Pant who’s come in over the last couple of years and has done really well,” he said.
“When that happens, Saha has obviously become the second wicketkeeper. And he has been travelling with the team and playing the odd match here and there.”
The 37-year old Saha left out of India’s Test team for the upcoming two-match series against Sri Lanka. Instead being replaced by Pant and KS Bharat.
India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, later told Saha that the squad will look to move on from the veteran.
Saha has played 40 Tests for India, amassing 1,353 runs, including three centuries and six fifties, and causing 104 dismissals.