India wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha on Sunday said that he learnt the most from former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as he knew that he will not be included in the team till Dhoni is in the team. It comes off as a little surprise that the two keepers have only played one Test together. Saha humbly admitted that he started playing frequently for the team after Dhoni’s retirement from the longest format in 2014 as he could not replace Dhoni in the team.
Speaking in an interview to Sports Tak, the Bengal wicketkeeper recalled how he went on to make his Test debut for India. “I didn’t replace MS Dhoni, I got chance after he left playing Test cricket. The Test in which I debuted, VVS Laxman was not playing because of finger injury. Rohit Sharma was called to replace him (in Nagpur Test match vs South Africa) as he had scored a good hundred in the Board President match,” he said.
“On the match day during the practice, Rohit collided with me. Both of us got ankle injury but he got it more. MS Dhoni was going for toss and I was giving throw downs to Subramaniam Badrinath, on his way told me ‘Saha tu khel rha h (Saha you are playing)’.”
“Gary Kirsten had told me MS Dhoni is in the team and so you will not play. He asked me to do my own practice. That’s why I played the net bowlers and then directly went on to play Dale Steyn and Mornie Morkel. MS Dhoni had set his standard and I learn from him till date,” Saha added.
The 35-year-old further said that he ensured that he made most of the opportunities that came his way. “His keeping or batting style, his stumping in fraction of seconds, there are a lot of things to learn. He 2-4 years older to me, I was knowing that if MS Dhoni is playing I will not get to play. Nobody likes sitting outside but with MS Dhoni in the team there is no option left. So, I learnt the maximum from and performed whenever given chance,” he said.
“I asked him during the Nagpur Test match that who would keep. He said ‘obviously I will keep, you are a good fielder, you go and field’,” he added.