India’s Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha has undergone surgery to fix a fracture he sustained on a right-hand finger during the Day/Night Test against Bangladesh but he is expected to regain full fitness for the two-match series in New Zealand in February.
The 35-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman underwent the surgery in Mumbai on Tuesday. The first-ever day-night Test in India was played in Kolkata last week.
“The BCCI Medical Team consulted a hand and wrist specialist and it was suggested that Saha undergoes a surgical fixation of the fracture,” the Board stated in a press release.
“Subsequently, he underwent a successful surgery in Mumbai on Tuesday and will soon commence his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru,” it added.
A source close to the team management told PTI that Saha is expected to be fit in time for the two Tests in New Zealand starting February 14. Before the Tests in Wellington and Christchurch, India are scheduled to play a three-day practice game at Seddon Park in Hamilton. The Tests will be preceded by five T20s and three ODIs, beginning January 24.
Saha had sustained a similar injury in the October Test series against South Africa but recovered for the Bangladesh assignment, which concluded last week with the Pink Ball Test in Kolkata. India won the series 2-0.
During the 2018 IPL, he ended up picking a career-threatening shoulder injury for which he had to undergo a surgery in England, leading to a long injury lay-off.
Rishabh Pant became the number one choice in Tests in his absence but he played his first game in 18 months when he was preferred over the swashbuckling southpaw in the home series against South Africa in October.
He was also picked ahead of Pant in the two-Test series against Bangladesh earlier this month, making it amply clear that he is the preferred choice at home.
In the Day/Night Test last week, Saha completed 100 dismissals in the longest format, becoming the fifth Indian wicket-keeper to do so. He has played 37 Tests for India so far in his injury-marred career.
India does not have a Test assignment lined up until February next year when the team travels to New Zealand for two five-day games besides a limited overs series.
Shouldn’t take more than five weeks to recover: Saha after finger surgery
Laid low by yet another injury, Saha said he expects to recover in a month’s time.
Speaking to PTI after undergoing a surgery in Mumbai to fix a fracture on the ring finger of his right hand, Saha said, “It’s like a normal fracture. It should not take more than five weeks to recover. I will take some rest at home and then the rehab process (at the National Cricket Academy) will follow.”
Speaking about the Day/Night Test, Saha said visibility was an issue because of the hazy conditions due to the onset of winter in the city.
“It was definitely challenging, especially under lights in the twilight period. The conditions were also hazy. The fielders at the boundary line were not able to sight the ball at one go,” Saha said.
“I guess we would not have faced this problem if the match was held in summer and not during winter,” he added.
Regarded as one of the best wicket-keepers in the world, the seasoned stumper once again impressed with his sharp reflexes against the heavily-lacquered swerving pink ball.
His low catch of Mahmadullah, outstretched at first slip, was the highlight of his keeping on the opening day when he completed a milestone of 100 dismissals in longest format.
Saha felt the sightscreen colour, white for pink ball Tests, could be improved.
“I wish the background (sightscreen) was brighter so the visibility could have been a bit better. The pink ball was definitely challenging,” he said.
Saha had previously faced the Kookaburra pink ball challenge at the domestic level.
On his assessment of the SG pink ball, Saha said: “It’s like the SG ball we were used to getting in the domestic one-dayers. There will be movements when the ball is new but when there’s a bit of dew you won’t get any swing at all.”
The response to India’s maiden pink ball Test was overwhelming and the Eden Gardens was packed on the first two days. Indian pacers hogged the limelight by grabbing all the 19 wickets that fell to hand the side an innings and 46-run victory inside three days.
Saha said Day/Night Tests, for the time being, can be an exception and not the rule.
“I think maximum matches would be in red ball only and this can be one-off in between. Whatever may be the colour of the ball or the conditions, we will always be prepared. It’s up to the BCCI to take the call,” he concluded.