WTC Final: Wriddhiman Saha could have been a part of Team India for Test vs Australia – Anjum Chopra

Rohit Sharma-led Indian side will take on Australia led by Pat Cummins at The Oval in the summit clash between July 7 and 11 and the winners will add the prestigious ICC trophy to their cabinet.

Team India suffered several massive jolts even before the start of the big finale. Coach Rahul Dravid’s side is without the services of key players such as Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul – all out of action due to injury. Rahul’s injury in the IPL 2023 was the most recent injury setback for India.

In the absence of Pant, Rahul looked like the front-runner in the race for being the first-choice wicketkeeper batter as KS Bharat doesn’t have much experience in international cricket. However, team management’s plans suffered a massive jolt due to Rahul’s injury and Ishan Kishan was named his replacement.

WTC Final: India Wicketkeeping Options

Both Kishan and Bharat lack international experience in wicketkeeping and it will be a tough call for the team management to figure out the first-choice glovesman. Former India woman cricketer Anjum Chopra reckons the team management, as well as selectors, should have gone with a seasoned campaigner like Wriddhiman Saha as the wicketkeeping option in a one-off high-stakes contest.

In an exclusive interaction with MyKhel, the cricketer-turned-commentator opined Saha – who is still regarded as one of the best red-ball keepers in the country and his vast experience – should have been considered for the job.

The 46-year-old – who has played 12 Women’s Tests, 127 WODIs, and 18 WT20Is for India – said, “Ishan Kishan can be a part of any side because he has done well in all formats lately. Who will play in the final eleven will be the management’s call. Still, I felt, that Wriddhiman Saha would have been a better option keeping in mind the fact that it is a one-off Test and you will want to have an experienced person behind the stumps.”

Wriddhiman Saha Test Cricket Stats

After coming to the office, head coach Dravid informed Saha that he doesn’t fit into his scheme of things anymore and hence he won’t be considered for selection in the Indian Test squad – the only format he was representing India. But Chopra believes an exception could have been made for a big match, considering the vast experience Saha (40 Tests) possessed.

“I know he’s been told that the team management is looking beyond him but it is just one game you are looking at and the wealth of experience he has. Taking nothing away from Ishan and Srikar Bharat, but it wouldn’t have been a bad call because English conditions could be testing as well for youngsters in a high-pressure WTC Final,” she added further.

WTC Final: Challenges For Team India

Asked how challenging will it be for the Indian players to acclimatise to the English conditions, as well as the red-ball format as most of the Indian cricketers are coming on the back of IPL 2023, the former left-handed batter opined it won’t be much of a problem for Rohit Sharma & Co.

“With so much cricket happening worldwide and a packed international calendar, it is hard for the players to arrive way in advance and get themselves acclimatised for every series or competition. These are professional players, I think they are well aware of how to adapt from red-ball to white-ball format because they keep on doing it all through the year. It is no more a concern as the constant cricket.

Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal Future India Stars

Former India head coach Ravi Shastri during the IPL 2023 opined young Turks such as Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh and Ruturaj Gaikwad should now be blooded into the T20I side and seniors focus ODIs and Tests. Chopra also seconded the former India captain’s observation.

She said, “Yes, this will happen (sooner than later). Yashasvi or Shubman aren’t 19 years old. They are 22/23, this is a nice age. The extent of exposure these youngsters get is huge now. They are taking less time to get acclimatised to the challenges of international cricket. I am sure going forward it is the right thing to do.”

“I am not saying we should drop the senior pros, but yes, you need to make a conscious effort to introduce these youngsters to the T20Is for the time being and let the seniors concentrate on the ODIs. This will also ensure that the transition phase from one generation to the next remains seamless,” she signed off.

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