Wriddhiman Saha has refused to play in the Ranji Trophy knockouts for Bengal. The veteran India wicketkeeper has declined a request to join the squad from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB). Saha is now with the Gujarat Titans in the IPL. Bengal will meet Jharkhand in the quarterfinals in Bengaluru starting June 6.
“The Cricket Association of Bengal wanted Wriddhiman Saha to play for Bengal at this crucial juncture especially when Bengal would be fighting in the Knockout stage in a bid to win the Ranji Trophy after becoming the top-ranked team in the country at the end of the Group Stage. I had expressed this to Wriddhiman and had requested him to reconsider his decision. However, Wriddhiman has now communicated to us that he is not willing to play the Ranji knockouts,” CAB president Avishek Dalmiya said on Thursday (May 26).
Initially, the CAB placed him in the squad alongside India pacer Mohammed Shami, causing controversy. Following this, there was a stir in Bengal, with claims that Saha had requested a NOC from the government.
CAB refuses to confirm or refute the reports, claiming that any communication between the institution and the player is confidential. “Any discussion that happens between a player and an organisation is strictly between that player and the organisation. I would like to completely refrain from making any comments at this stage,” Dalmiya had said about a week back.
Saha, who has fallen out of favour with Indian selectors, has stayed absent from the league stage of the tournament. This has upset the CAB, with joint secretary Debabrata Das doubting the cricketer’s devotion to the state. “Wriddhi has no responsibility towards Bengal cricket. When he is not in the Indian team, he should play for Bengal,” Das was quoted in the media as saying which had led to differences between the player and the association.