Before IPL 2020, Wriddhiman Saha did not have too many significant moments in the IPL, barring his century in the 2014 IPL Finals. He has still been a stalwart of the game and is one of the best Test wicket-keeper batters India have produced in recent times.
Wriddhiman Saha’s IPL career though can inspire people to believe that one good season and a set of coincidences going your way can get your career moving. He got an opening spot in the Hyderabad side by chance. With SRH looking to bring in Kane Williamson, they had to drop Jonny Bairstow, giving Wriddhiman Saha the gloves and an opening spot.
Saha is often a forgotten player and his nature allows him to slip away unnoticed with ease. His second game with SRH though put him straight in the spotlight. He scored 87 runs opening the batting and the innings were enough to seal his spot as an opener. He got injured a few games later, but looked very good before the injury, and did enough to show that he could be an IPL opener.
A wicket-keeper who opens the batting is always an asset in the IPL, and Wriddhiman Saha cracked a crucial code by improving his batting, mainly in the powerplay. The IPL 2022 Auction though almost saw Wriddhiman Saha go away forgotten again. To his fortune, the Gujarat Titans had a shortage in wicket-keepers which led to him being picked on the second day of the auction. With Wade in the side, and likely to play as an opener, Saha’s spot in the starting eleven was once again in doubt.
After some poor scores from Wade though, Saha got a chance, and from the moment he broke into the eleven, he went on a run-scoring spree. Since his first game, he has been among the more consistent batters this season, scoring with ease in the powerplay. With Wriddhiman Saha though, a problem lasted for him beyond the powerplay.
During the powerplay, he has a really good strike rate and is only a little bit behind the great Chris Gayle. Saha’s style of run-scoring though depends on piercing gaps and playing grounded shots, while his big hits are not known to go too far into the stands.
With the lack of being able to find boundaries after the powerplay, Saha often struggles to maintain the tempo created in the powerplay. He has a massive drop in strike rate over the two phases, and that is where Saha often lagged in the past.
This season though, Saha has come out with more clarity, and has been very explosive early on. He seems to have embraced the Sunil Narine thought process, of going hard early on, without losing his wicket, and without needing to worry about maintaining his tempo in the middle overs. In case he does get past the powerplay, Saha can still rotate strike, and go for boundaries, but even if he struggles its fine as he has already attained a high-strike rate, sufficient enough for the team in the powerplay.
This season he has been among the risk-takers early on. He often starts his innings with a flurry of boundaries and has embraced a high-risk approach to make maximum use of his talents, as he knows where his constraints lie.