More backs Saha to improve glovework

Former India wicketkeeper Kiran More has said Wriddhiman Saha remains India's best wicketkeeper and needs time to regain his belief with the gloves.

Wriddhiman Saha hasn't been at his best behind the stumps in this series.   -  AP

When Wriddhiman Saha missed a stumping of Ben Stokes in the second Test on Saturday, it was the third occasion in the series that the Indian ’keeper had reprieved the English all-rounder.

Saha put down Stokes twice, in quick succession, in the first Test at Rajkot and fluffed a stumping here when Ravichandran Ashwin bluffed the Englishman.

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Is the normally reliable and technically sound Saha suffering from a loss of confidence behind the stumps?

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Sportstar caught up with the former India wicketkeeper-batsman Kiran More to find the answers.

More said: “Saha is a very good wicket-keeper but he made one mistake today. He was watching the batsman Stokes and not the ball. This is why he could not complete the stumping.”

There was another instance on Friday when Ashwin spun one between bat and pad and the ball went for four byes.

In Saha’s defence, More said: “It is easier to keep to a leg-spinner or a left-arm spinner than an off-spinner. An off-spinner gets the ball to spin into the right-hander which means the ball can come off the inside pad, the inside edge, the thigh pad or between bat and pad. It can be hard.”

He added, “The ball coming in is always harder to keep when standing up. Then, when you expect the ball to spin in, it straightens. A ’keeper has to read the ball from the hand.”

Dwelling on Saha’s two misses in Rajkot, both involving Stokes and seamer Umesh Yadav, More said: “Both catches fell off Saha’s gloves. The second catch was easier. It was a matter of positioning and timing for Saha. The fact that the ball was skidding through at Rajkot also did not help him.”

The knack to getting it right

“A wicket-keeper has to stay low and keep the hands low in these conditions to pacemen. The edges, on a lot of occasions, hardly carry. The ball does turn and jump for the spinners and even as you rise with the ball your gloves have to remain low. If your gloves are high, it is very difficult to bring them down. If they are lower, you can take them up naturally.”

He felt Saha would bounce back. “He is the best wicket-keeper in the country and such a useful batsman. I am sure he will come out of it. I have been through these phases myself. At this level, it’s a very mental game.”

The message was clear — Give Saha the time and space to regain his belief with the gloves.