Lauding the wicket-keeping skills of Saha, who was excluded from the Indian Test squad for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, Karthik said, “But you can see Rishabh Pant has pretty much nailed his place in the team. So then, you can understand which direction the Indian team is going in where they feel that if it’s going to be a second keeper role, then they’ll look at somebody younger.”
Karthik was sympathetic towards Saha, saying it was not easy for a cricketer to accept rejection.
“I’m pretty sure from wherever I’ve seen with Wriddhiman’s interviews, he understands where this decision is coming from,” the Tamil Nadu cricketer said in the ICC Review.
“I know no cricketer is going to accept that when you’re being told to move on. It is a very hard one because this is what they’ve been doing day in and day out.
“All of us want to represent the country and that is the burning desire for everybody. So when somebody comes in says, ‘I think your time is done,’ it can be a hard one to swallow. But it is understandable and you have to understand where the selectors, the coach and the captain are coming from,” Karthik said.
He was all praise for Saha’s contributions to Indian cricket.
“Kudos to Wriddhiman Saha. I think he has been one of those brilliant, quiet servants of Indian cricket who has done so well over a period of years.”
“He is still one of the best wicketkeepers in the world, by a distance – I rate him as the best wicketkeeper in the world. He has got great hands, he moves really well… he is a terrific wicketkeeper. And add to the fact, he has a few centuries in international cricket and played some really crucial, important knocks when Team India needed it,” Karthik added.
But following the emergence of Pant, Karthik said it was understandable why the team management took the decision to move on from Saha.
“Just like MS Dhoni came in all those years ago, we’ve had Rishabh Pant who’s come in over the last couple of years and has done really well,” he said.
“When that happens, Saha has obviously become the second wicketkeeper and he has been travelling with the team and playing the odd match here and there.”
The 37-year old Saha was left out from India’s Test squad for the upcoming two-match series against Sri Lanka, with Pant and KS Bharat being chosen for the contests.
Saha later revealed he was told by India head coach Rahul Dravid that the team would look to move on from the veteran.
Saha has represented India in 40 Tests, scoring 1,353 runs with three centuries and six fifties and effected 104 dismissals.