Wriddhiman Saha has made up his mind to quit Bengal, but the wicketkeeper-batter is yet to decide on his new destination. He admits that he has spoken to quite a few people from several state units, but is yet to zero in on a particular team.
“Since I had made up my mind that I won’t play for Bengal, I had informed (the Cricket Association of Bengal president Avishek Dalmiya) over phone. But I will meet him in person and finalise the formalities,” Saha told Sportstar, indicating that he will soon formally seek a No-Objection Certificate (NOC).
Saha had earlier informed the state unit that he is not willing to play the Ranji Trophy knockouts, beginning on June 6. Soon after the Bengal squad for the Ranji knockouts was released by the CAB, Saha had a long conversation with Dalmiya, where he indicated that he may no longer play for Bengal.
He was upset with comments by a senior CAB official, who had raised questions over Saha’s commitment after he decided to skip the group stage of the Ranji Trophy due to personal reasons.
Last week, he even exited the Bengal team’s WhatsApp group, despite coach Arun Lal having a word with the India international.
While his wife Romi had earlier indicated about Saha’s possible exit from Bengal, the cricketer had remained quiet. But on Thursday, he broke his silence.
“For me, too, it is a very sad feeling that I have to go through something like this after playing for Bengal for so long. It is disappointing that people make such comments and question your integrity. As a player, I had never faced such a thing in the past, but now that it has happened, even I need to (move on),” Saha added.
There were speculations that he could shift to Gujarat next season. However, Saha remained tight-lipped. “I have spoken to a lot of people, but no decision has been taken yet. There is still time left for next season…”
After being left out of the Indian Test team for the home series against Sri Lanka in March, Saha went to the Indian Premier League and had a successful stint with the champion side Gujarat Titans. Opening the innings for Titans alongside Shubman Gill, Saha amassed 317 runs.
“I just went to the IPL to contribute to Gujarat Titans and help them win. I am glad that we won the title, but I am not thinking too much about what will happen next or what should have happened. My job was to perform and I just did that,” Saha added.
After spending two and a half months in the bio-bubble, Saha now wants to spend quality time with the family and go on a vacation.
Looking back at his stint with Gujarat Titans, Saha only has fond memories.
“It was one happy unit, where we could express ourselves and communicate. There would be open sessions over breakfast or meal or even during team sessions, where all of us spoke to each other about our plans and vision,” he said.
“It was not just about communicating with Hardik (Pandya) or Ashish Nehra. We spoke with everyone and there was an exchange of ideas. That approached us in reaching our goal as a unit and we all knew what the plan would be…”
After opting for Matthew Wade as the opener for the first five games, the team management brought Saha in and he did not disappoint.
“Every match is important for a team. While one match can actually be a decisive moment in a player’s career, it also plays a huge impact on the team’s rankings in the points table. So, we had to take every match that way and play accordingly,” Saha said.
“When a team goes into the auction, they pick players with a certain idea. I think they had considered Wade as a first-choice wicketkeeper-opener. He obviously performed really well in the T20 World Cup, and maybe that’s why initially the team management went ahead with him. But later, to set the combination right, I was chosen. I have tried contributing to the team’s success in every possible way…”
In his long career, Saha has played for several franchises – including Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings and Punjab Kings – but with Titans, he got an opportunity to express himself and play with an open mind. That helped him score runs and contribute to the team’s title win.