New Delhi: Any battle for asserting supremacy has some intriguing sub plots and the upcoming Irani Cup match between Ranji champions Gujarat and Rest of India has one.
It will be the battle to decide, who will be the “keeper of India’s fortune’ between in-form Parthiv Patel and a fit again Wriddhiman Saha in the next five Test matches at home, starting with Bangladesh rubber. For the MSK Prasad led committee, it can be a catch 22 situation as it’s going to be an extremely difficult choice.
On one side is Parthiv, whose blazing blade single-handedly won Gujarat Ranji Trophy with his knocks of 90 and 143 against heavyweights Mumbai. On the other hand is Wriddhiman, back from tendonitis injury, eager to win his place in the team, as the most technically accomplished keeper in the country at the moment.
A fact which is endorsed by skipper Virat Kohli and not to forget MS Dhoni, who recently during an interaction said how he knew Saha was ready for the job. The Bengal stumper had a good West Indies series followed by New Zealand series at home where he won his maiden Man of the Match award for his twin 50s at Eden Gardens. But his sudden injury helped Parthiv make a comeback after eight years and scored two half tons in three Tests against England.
What works for Parthiv is his ability to bat at any position starting from opening the innings and having scored nearly 10,000 runs in first class cricket. While Wriddhiman is a capable batsman with a 40 plus average but it is his superior keeping against Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja that holds him in good stead as he is known to keep well for 150 overs at stretch if need be.
“I don’t think too much about things that are not in my control. I have the passion to perform and that’s what keeps me going,” Parthiv had recently said in an interview. Wriddhiman, who remains unfazed forever, also spoke in the same vein when he was asked about Parthiv’s recent exploits.
“I can only focus on my performance. At best what will happen? I won’t be selected and I would have to work hard perform and earn my place. I don’t get overjoyed with success nor do I get too disappointed with failures. That’s a trait that I have had since childhood,” Wriddhiman had said then. Their skipper Kohli is very respectful of both his colleagues’ capabilities as he has always mentioned during his interaction with the media.
“Wriddhiman is somebody you always want in the team. A perfect teamman who is willing to do anything for the team. It feels great to see him do well,” Kohli had said. He had praise for Parthiv as well when he empathised with his situation when he made a comeback into the Test team after 8 years.
“He is very experienced at the first class level and he knows if he does well he can be the second keeper going for overseas tours,” Kohli had said before the Mohali match in which Patel had a second innings half century. In all Irani Cup match will be an indicator which among Saha’s superior keeping skills or Parthiv’s willow wielding is taken into account.