Wriddhiman Saha vs CAB row: Veteran keeper exits Bengal WhatsApp group as chaos amplifies

Wriddhiman Saha hasn’t had the best of times off the field in the recent past. Firstly, he made a lot of noise following his spat with journalist Boria Majumdar, which led to the latter’s two-year suspension by the BCCI. Now, the veteran Indian keeper-batter’s relations with the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) have turned from bad to worse.

It all started when Saha refused to turn up for Bengal after being dropped from India’s Test squad in February. Later, he also refused to appear in the knockout matches of the Ranji Trophy 2021-22 edition. While CAB Secretary Avishek Dalmiya had earlier informed that he was set to reach out to Saha, however, he decided against it. Now, the matter has escalated further as the cricket board might send the Bengal veteran player a No Objection Certificate so that he can pursue his domestic career elsewhere. 

With regard to the NoC, a CAB official told the Indian Express, “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.”

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When Saha had decided to skip playing for Bengal after his ouster from the Indian team, the decision wasn’t well-received by the CAB’s joint-secretary Debabrata Das. “Tell me, why should Wriddhi [Saha] not play in the Ranji Trophy for Bengal?” Das was quoted in the Sangbad Pratidin early this year. “He is not in the Indian team, why should he not play for Bengal? Then we have to assume that he feels no responsibility towards Bengal. In the past, too, there have been many occasions when he has refused to play for Bengal. When we have spoken to him, he has given all sorts of excuses and skipped games. Sometimes it’s body ache, sometimes he has a pain in his leg.” 

However, Saha’s wife revealed that the ‘excuses’ jibe left Saha ‘hurt’. While Cricinfo reports that an effort was made by Dalmiya to make Saha understand that Das’ comments weren’t exactly a critiicsm, it didn’t help bridge the gap. Amid all this, Saha’s name wasn’t found in Bengal’s squad announced for the quarter-finals. Now a report in IE further reveals that the 37-year-old has now left Bengal’s WhatsApp group. 

It looks like it is curtains for Saha’s 15-year-long association with Bengal, for a side where he made his debut for back in 2007 and has played 122 First-Class and 102 List-A matches.

For the unversed, the Ranji quarter-finals will commence on June 6 and the tournament-finale will kick off on June 22.