IPL: More confident after keeping to Rashid, says Saha

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Kolkata, April 15 (IANS) Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha reckons that he has done his confidence a world of good after keeping wickets to highly-rated Afghanistan wrist spinner Rashid Khan in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Afghan is currently ranked world number one in T20 format, number 2 in ODIs. He recently became the fastest to take 100 ODI wickets.

“It’s a good experience, after a long time I’m getting an opportunity to keep against a bowler like Rashid,” said Saha who took two acrobatic catches behind the stumps in SRH’s win against Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.

“He has got pace and turn. In recent times, I’ve been keeping against the likes of (Ravichandran) Ashwin, (Ravindra) Jadeja, (Amit) Mishra, or Kuldeep (Yadav). Now after keeping against Rashid, I’m more confident.

“He bowls consistently well. In T20s you don’t get to keep much against a particular bowler but those are all vital. I’m trying my best to do well,” he added.

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Asked just how good is Rashid, Saha added: “It’s most about pace variation. He bowls leg spin and mixes it up with a lot of googlies. With such a quick arm action, it’s very difficult for batsmen to read them. You can add that as his strength.”

Sunrisers have been the early pace-setters this IPL season, winning three matches on the trot, something which Saha accredited to the ploy of treating every match as a final.

On Saturday, SRH beat KKR by five wickets at the Eden Gardens.

At home they have won both the two games against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians.

“Our target is to go match by match, and we are looking in that direction only. Overall it was a complete team performance, we did well in batting and bowling,” Saha told reporters at the post match press conference.

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The India Test stumper has been given a new role to open the batting alongwith national team colleague Shikhar Dhawan. Since SRH do not have the services of dashing Australian David Warner, who was also their captain, Saha is expected to fill in big shoes.

On Saturday at the Eden which is Saha’s home, the 33-year old extremely looked good for his 15-ball 24, which was studded with five exquisite fours.

“I’ve been given a new role to open and asked to play with freedom. I’m trying that only,” Saha said of his new job.

About gameplan between him and Dhawan as to who will be the aggressor, Saha said: “In the last match, I just rotated the strike while Dhawan was going about his shots. Today I got the start. It’s about whose day it is and should carry from thereon.”

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SRH almost made heavy weather of a moderate target of 139 before skipper Kane Williamson (50) and ex-KKR all-rounder Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan (27) took them over the line.

Saha reasoned that the wicket was two-paced.

“The wicket was a bit double-paced. During bowling only it was apparent. Our initial start was good but we lost a few wickets. Shakib did well in the middle alongwith our captain,” he said.

Saha also hailed skipper Williamson, saying he takes everyone’s inputs in the team and is doing a great job taking over the mantle from Warner, who is serving a one-year ban after the ball tampering incident.

“He always listens to everyone. Asked all of us to give inputs. He’s doing well as a team after David Warner. He’s doing a great job,” expressed the 33-year-old.

SRH play next Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on April 19.

–IANS

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