India and Gujarat Titans wicketkeeper-batter Wriddhiman Saha has refused the chance to play for his state team, Bengal, in the upcoming Ranji Trophy knockouts. Saha also decided to sit out of the group stage of the tournament and was amidst a lot of controversies. Bengal is set to face Jharkhand in the quarterfinals from 6 June in Bengaluru.
Addressing this issue, CAB President Avishek Dalmiya talked about how he requested Saha to reconsider his decision of not playing but the 37-year-old refused to play.
Dalmiya, while addressing the media on Thursday released a statement stating, “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."
Saha along with senior India pacer Mohammed Shami were included in Bengal's Ranji Trophy squad for the knockouts. But Saha wasn’t willing to play for the team this season and had also sought a NOC to change his team going forward. “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.
“Wriddhi has no responsibility towards Bengal cricket. When he is not in the Indian team, he should play for Bengal,” said Debabrata Das pointing at the differences between the player and the association.
As reported by the Indian Express, a top CAB official addressed Saha’s decision to not play and was quoted saying, “What to do? If he is that stubborn, we have to give him. But nobody should try to arm-twist the state association, as it is bigger than any individual.”
Saha has been a crucial player for the Gujarat Titans in the 2022 IPL as he has scored 312 runs in 10 games as an opener.