Wriddhiman our No 1 choice, it was his fitness test, says MSK Prasad
Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad indicated that Wriddhiman Saha will regain his rightful place in the Indian Test for upcoming matches as he was out owing to injury and the Irani Cup game was not his trial but a case of testing his fitness.
"We had made it clear that someone who is coming back from injury, had to play in a domestic game and this was the best opportunity. Right now Saha and Parthiv are the best Nos 1 and 2 that we have. It was only to test fitness that we had Saha play here."
While Parthiv had a good comeback in Tests with two half-centuries followed by Ranji Trophy winning hundred against Mumbai, Wriddhiman played one of the best knocks in Irani Trophy history as his 203 not out enabled the Rest of India to chase down a near 400-run total on Tuesday.
"Personally, I can say that Wriddiman Saha was out of the team because of injury and not because he was out of form. He was 'Man of the Match' in the Kolkata Test against New Zealand and got a hundred in West Indies," said Prasad.
"I am happy how Parthiv has responded to the call-up. He is a fighter to the core. He single-handedly brought Gujarat from nowhere to being the Ranji Champions. He is in our scheme of things. There is just a minor difference between the two. When it comes to Test cricket, it is always the man who keeps better who gets the nod," Prasad gave ample hint about what the selectors' decision will be.
Prasad felt the glove work of Parthiv has also improved considerably but Wriddhiman still has better hands.
"Parthiv's glovework has definitely improved. But Saha has got better hands and that's where he scores little more points than Parthiv. With today's batting, Saha showed why he is the number one keeper-batsman in the country. When he came out to bat yesterday the team was struggling at 63-4, and to take the game away from Gujarat, is phenomenal. So it’s a healthy competition between the two."
Prasad was also full of praise for the roles played by senior pros, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, in the 2-1 series win in the ODI series against England, while saying it was too early to say whether they will be part of India's campaign in the 2019 World Cup in England.
Praising Kedar Jadhav for the two gems he has played in the ODI series, Prasad said he had seen him enjoy playing the finisher's role.
"Kedar Jadhav is a little dynamite. I saw him play a Ranji game at Lahli, Andhra vs Maharashtra (2014-15 Quarters). It was a seaming track and they were some for 40-6 and this guy scored some 80-odd and won the game for Maharashtra.
"Somehow, like Virat (Kohli), he enjoys chasing and enjoys finisher’s role. During one of the recent India A tours to Australia he played that role. Even in Zimbabwe he did well and I'm happy for him."
Parvez Rasool has replaced Ashwin in the T20 team and Prasad hailed the J and K player and compared him with Jayant Yadav, who played a significant role in the Test series win over England.
"Rasool has been superb in the shorter form of the game as you can see from his stats. He is actually a good all-rounder just like Jayant Yadav."