Wriddhiman Saha received a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) on Saturday.
While the wicketkeeper-batter did not reveal his next destination, Tripura Cricket Association’s joint-secretary Kishore Kumar Das confirmed to Sportstar that Saha is “almost set” to join Tripura as a mentor-player next season.
“Things are almost 80 per cent final. We are expecting him to reach Agartala around July 7-8 and then sign on the dotted lines,” Saha said, “Things should be sorted by July 10 and we are looking forward to him joining the Tripura side.”
A couple of weeks ago, when there were speculations that Saha could join Tripura, he had told this publication that “things are not finalised yet.” But on Saturday, after returning to Kolkata from a holiday, Saha met CAB president Avishek Dalmiya and formally sought a 'No Objection Certificate' from the state association."CAB gave concurrence to the request of Mr Saha and provided the NOC to him for playing for another state..." the state unit said in a statement.
The TCA officials are excited to get someone “as experienced as Saha” on board. However, asked whether Saha will be given the responsibility to lead Tripura, Das said, "that's a separate discussion we will have with him. We will decide accordingly."
The 37-year-old, who played for Bengal for more than a decade, did not feature in the Ranji Trophy this season. Soon after the Bengal squad for the Ranji knockouts was released by the CAB, Saha had a long conversation with Dalmiya and indicated that he may no longer play for Bengal.
He was upset with comments by a senior CAB official, who had raised questions over Saha’s commitment after he decided to skip the group stage of the Ranji Trophy due to personal reasons. He even exited the Bengal team's WhatsApp group, despite coach Arun Lal having a word with the India international.
Earlier, Saha had told this publication that he decided to move on from Bengal after questions were raised on his commitment. “For me, too, it is a very sad feeling that I have to go through something like this after playing for Bengal for so long. It is disappointing that people make such comments and question your integrity. As a player, I had never faced such a thing in the past, but now that it has happened, even I need to (move on),” Saha had said.
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After being left out of the Indian Test team for the home series against Sri Lanka in March, Saha went to the Indian Premier League and had a successful stint with the champion side Gujarat Titans. Opening the innings for Titans alongside Shubman Gill, Saha amassed 317 runs. While an India call-up may be a distant dream for the stumper-batter, he is keen on continuing in domestic cricket for at least a few more years.
Dighe likely to continue as Tripura coach
While TCA is looking forward to Saha joining the team, it plans to retain Sameer Dighe as the coach for the upcoming season. A former India international, Dighe has tasted success as a coach in domestic cricket. After moving on from Mumbai, Dighe took over as Tripura coach and under his guidance, the team reached the Vijay Hazare Trophy knockouts last season. “We are planning to retain him as the coach for this season as well,” Das said.