'Adelaide 35 better than IPL ton' - Saha

Gill Saab

Yaar Malang
Wriddhiman Saha has said he rates his innings of 35 in the Adelaide Test two years ago higher than his century in the IPL final. In the final Test of a wretched tour of Australia for India, Saha put on 124 with Virat Kohli and helped him score his maiden Test century. The IPL century, he said, would have "tasted sweeter" had his innings won the final for Kings XI Punjab.

"Although the context was completely different, I would rate the innings of 35 in the Adelaide Test and a century stand for the sixth wicket with Virat Kohli closer to my heart," Saha told PTI. "I am proud of the century in IPL final but that was a Test match. Virat was batting brilliantly and I could support him in his bid for the maiden Test hundred.

"Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle bowled during that phase. I played 94 balls and it was my second Test match. Till I got out, I wasn't uncomfortable against pace and swing, which gave me confidence that I can play at the highest level. This IPL century would have tasted sweeter but need to accept that KKR collectively batted better than us. We could never stop them from maintaining that run-rate."

During his innings against Kolkata Knight Riders, Saha was severe on Sunil Narine, scoring 35 off 18 balls against the West Indian offspinner. Saha said he made no attempt to try and read Narine's variations from his hand.

"Since I was playing Narine for the first time, I decided that I won't try to pick him from his hand," he said. "Rather, I decided to stay on the backfoot and wait for that extra split second so that ball does what it intends to do. Rocking back helped me execute those slog pulls effectively."

Saha has been MS Dhoni's long-time understudy in the Test squad, and his form in the IPL - in which he scored 362 runs at a strike rate of over 145 - has now given him a chance in the ODI team, with Dhoni rested for the tour of Bangladesh. Despite earning his place on the back of his batting form, Saha said he remains a wicketkeeper-batsman rather than a batsman-wicketkeeper.

"I am a specialist wicketkeeper whose job is to also do well with the bat," he said. "Keeping was, is and will remain the top-most priority. For example, in this upcoming tour of Bangladesh, I will not bat higher than No. 6 or No. 7. I am practical about the fact. I won't bat before Ajinkya (Rahane), Cheteshwar (Pujara) or Suresh (Raina). So I would rather see myself as a keeper-batsman than other way round."