New Delhi: Back to back half-centuries against Sri Lanka happened just at the time when Wriddhiman Saha needed a confidence-booster as he slowly recovers from a hamstring injury that prevented him from playing in the third Test of the series.
"South Africa Tests are still two months away. I am confident that I will get fit much before that. Hopefully, I will be playing Ranji Trophy for Bengal next month to get match fit. Right now, I am in Kolkata doing my rehabilitation. I will be going to Bangalore later to check whether I have fully recovered as I would need physio's clearance," Wriddhiman told PTI in an interview.
But the 30-year-old is happy that he has been able to make significant contributions with the bat having scored 60 and 56 in Galle and P Sara Oval during first two Tests.
"Obviously, the twin half-centuries acted as confidence boosters. I am happy that I have played my little part in the team's 2-1 series victory. For me, more than the volume of runs, it is important that in what situation I have scored those runs. When I look back, I feel a bit of satisfaction that I could deliver what Virat (Kohli) wanted from me," said the Bengal glovesman.
For him, the 60 at Galle was a shade better effort than his 56 at P Sara Oval.
"I would rate the Galle innings higher as there was both turn and bounce on that track. Also I had not got a fifty in Tests till then. It was a challenge that I enjoyed. Also I batted with the tail (in both Tests), which demands taking greater responsibility. (Dhammika) Prasad and (Rangana) Herath are class bowlers and doing well against them increases self belief," said the Siliguri lad, who now has 284 runs from 7 Tests.
While he rates Ryan Harris as the "most skillful bowler" that he has faced in his short international career till now, he rates Prasad a close second.
"It's difficult to pick Prasad from the hand as times his grip on the ball is not orthodox. The ball will land on a scrambled seam position and it's difficult to predict if it will come in or move away after pitching. That spell by Prasad in the second Test was really a testing one," assessed Wriddhiman.
Ask him about his trigger movement while batting and the committed front-foot style, Wriddhiman says, "I believe you can have a distinct batting style. The philosophy of this team is to believe in strengths and get the maximum out of it. If I can have as many shots in my range as a frontfoot player, so be it. Even a 30 should help the team win."
His keeping has always been revered by one and all and he is pretty happy with the job he has done.
"It was fun keeping in Sri Lanka. I didn't believe when I watched the kind of bounce generated on fourth and fifth day tracks on a sub-continental wicket. Among the bowlers, I felt that Ishant at times was bowling as quick if not quicker than Varun (Aaron) and Umesh (Yadav)," Wriddhiman said.
"When the ball hits the keeper's gloves, he can feel it. Ishant also used the scrambled seam and with his height got that disconcerting bounce," said Wriddhiman.
Talking about the camaraderie in the team, Wriddhiman spoke about how Ajinkya Rahane helped him quickly get over the disappointment of not scoring during the practice game.
"When I had low scores (3 and 1) in the warm-up game, Ajinkya came up and told me, 'Don't worry. You will score in Tests where it matters'. That's what has been the hallmark. Everyone is enjoying each other's success," said the keeper.
Asked if Naman Ojha's freeflowing strokeplay in the final Test has put him under pressure, he gave a straightforward answer.
"I don't play cricket thinking about other's performance. I got injured and Naman was assigned a duty. He did his job to the best of his abilities and India have won the match. Now who will play is upto the selectors. My job is to keep improving and I will strive in doing that," concluded Wriddhiman.