Veteran wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha was back at the Indian team nets on Wednesday, showing signs of recovery from an injury with four weeks still left for the much-anticipated December 17-21 Test series opener against Australia in Adelaide. Saha, one of the finest of glovesmen ever to have donned the national colours, had damaged both his hamstrings during a short but successful IPL campaign for Sunrisers Hyderabad, in which he scored two match-winning half-centuries.
Thanks to the injury, the 36-year-old keeper missed the eliminator as well as the second qualifier of the Indian Premier League. On Wednesday, Saha was seen facing throwdowns at the nets from the Sri Lankan left-arm specialist Nuwan Seneviratne and Indian right-arm bowler Dayananda Garani for a considerable period of time. He didn't keep wickets though and the extent of recovery couldn't be ascertained from the video uploaded by the BCCI media.
There wasn't any pronounced forward press or footwork involved while driving the half-volleys, which could be an indicator of how quickly his hamstring is healing. However, the man who has so far played 37 Tests and scored 1238 runs for the country, didn't look uncomfortable during his time at the nets. From the video it seemed that both the throwdown specialists didn't go full tilt at the batsman, who is trying to gradually get into the groove after the injury.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly recently expressed confidence that Saha would be fully fit before the first Test with both Nitin Patel and Nick Webb working on his injury management. During the last Test series in New Zealand, Saha was confined to the sidelines with Rishabh Pant getting an opportunity for his superior batting skills. However, this time around Pant's dreadful batting form in the IPL has not helped his cause. He is also being "slightly over-weight" and that has certainly not gone down well with the team management.
In case Saha fully recovers, he will be the favourite to don the big gloves in the four-match series.
Ishant bowling at full tilt
India's senior-most fast bowler Ishant Sharma on Wednesday bowled full tilt at the National Cricket Academy with an aim to get fit for India's four-match Test series in Australia. Ishant was ruled out of the Indian Premier League after playing just one game for Delhi Capitals against Sunrisers Hyderabad before a "left internal oblique muscle tear" ended his campaign prematurely.
The injury in common language is side strain and Ishant has been at the NCA doing his extensive rehabilitation work under the watchful eyes of Director Rahul Dravid and head physio Ashish Kaushik.