Saha humbled by praise for spectacular catches

The India wicketkeeper feels encouraged to “maintain the standard” of his acrobatic efforts in Pune and Bengaluru.

Wriddhiman Saha (second from right) attempts to complete to catch to to dismiss Steve Smith.   -  Bhagya Prakash K.

India’s wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha has said he is motivated by his acrobatic effort to dismiss Steve O’Keefe in the first Test.

In Australia’s first innings in Pune, the 32-year old had dived to his right to take a flying catch off an outside edge off O’Keefe off the bowling of Umesh Yadav. The ball was flying between Saha and captain Virat Kohli at first slip, but the wicketkeeper flung himself in the air and plucked the ball, completing one of the most stunning catches in recent times.

“It is always a great feeling when you hear people comparing you with ‘Superman’, I really feel humbled. But realistically it would be great if I could achieve at least 10 per cent of ‘Superman’. I will try and maintain the standard,” Saha said of the popular comic superhero character at a promotional event here.

This season, the selection panel has kept faith in Saha despite Parthiv Patel giving a good account of himself when the Bengal stumper was injured. Besides the effort in Pune, Saha also stood out for his catch to remove Matthew Wade in the recently-concluded Test in Bengaluru where India bounced back to level the series.

‘Outstanding effort’

Rating O’Keefe’s catch as the best, he said, “Among the catches, the one I took off O’Keefe in Pune gave me a lot of satisfaction, as it was against a fast bowler and I was standing a little forward. So the reaction time was less. Captain (Virat Kohli) said it was an outstanding effort after I took the Pune catch. He was thrilled and so were all my team-mates,” he added.

“Maybe, if I had done once, people would not have compared me with the character (’Superman’), but since I have been able to do it a few times, I am being compared. I will try and maintain the good work,” Saha said.

Saha conceded that it was challenging for him to keep against the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja on turning tracks in both Tests. “It is always a challenge for the wicketkeepers on turning tracks. There is always a variation in bounce which was the case in both the Tests. Sometimes it becomes a blind zone for the keepers,” he said.

Saha further regretted not playing alongside Aussie great Adam Gilchrist in Tests. “I have rubbed shoulders with him in the [Indian Premier League]. It would have been a great experience playing against him in a Test,” he said. The third and penultimate Test between India and Australia will be played in Ranchi from March 16.