What’s the stat?
Wriddhiman Saha, in the ongoing Irani Trophy encounter between Gujarat and Rest of India at the CCI in Mumbai, has become the first wicket-keeper batsman to score a ton in the fourth innings in the history of the competition. His unbeaten attacking 123* has put Rest of India in a strong position to win the Irani trophy against Gujarat. He is accompanied on the crease by another India international Cheteshwar Pujara, who is unbeaten on 83. Rest of India are 266/4 at the end of Day 4 and need another 113 runs to beat Gujarat. With this feat, Saha has joined a selective list of wicket-keeper batsmen who have scored a ton in the Irani Trophy. He joins Parthiv Patel, who has scored two tons, Chandrakant Pandit, CM Gautam, Vijay Yadav and Nayan Mongia to have scored tons as a wicket-keeper batsmen in the Irani Trophy.
Battle of the keepers
Since the time the squads were announced for the Irani trophy encounter, the contest between Gujarat and Rest of India has been pipped as a ‘Battle of the Wicket-keepers’. Wriddhiman Saha was the incumbent wicket-keeper for India, but he suffered an unfortunate injury in the second Test against England at Visakhapatnam, leading to him to miss the rest of the series against the visitors. In his absence, the current Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel was called up to the squad and performed exceptionally well, while also being competent with the gloves. He also opened the batting for India, giving the Indian team management the option to use him as an opener when the regular openers are missing in action.
What are the implications?
Wriddhiman Saha, after his brilliant knock in the final of the Irani Trophy, has sent a strong and firm message to the selectors that he is no pushover and will not hand his position in the Indian starting XI to Parthiv Patel without a fight. It can be easily argued that Parthiv Patel is the better batsman of the two, but Saha has a better skill-set than his competitor as a keeper. It will now be interesting to see which route do the Indian selectors go when it comes to picking the Indian squads for the Test series’ against Bangladesh and Australia.