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‘Mohali my home now’

- Won’t be emotional when I walk onto the field: Wriddhi
Wriddhiman Saha with wife and daughter, at the city airport, on Monday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: It’s not surprising if emotions go on to take centre stage when an individual is part of a unit crossing swords with another representing his home.

Wriddhiman Saha is the one who could come across such a situation.

Eden Gardens is where his cricketing journey began, with the Ranji Trophy tie versus Hyderabad being his first-class debut back in the 2007-08 season. It’s at the same Eden when Wriddhiman, being a key member of the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) battalion at present, will ensure he doesn’t spare even an inch to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Tuesday’s IPL VII Qualifier I. The Knight Riders used to be Wriddhiman’s team as well once upon a time in the IPL. But that’s all history now.

For Wriddhiman, Mohali is his present home during IPL time and other venues, including Eden, matter little to him. In other words, being a visitor at home hardly bothers him.

“To be honest, there are just no different kinds of feelings or emotions going into this match. Yes, I’ve started playing at the Eden and am well aware of the conditions here. But it doesn’t mean that I will become emotional because of representing the visiting side.

“Mind you, we are all professionals. The team we are representing at present is all what matters… Nothing else… I will not be emotional when I walk onto the field.”

“I would like to make it clear that since I belong to KXIP, Mohali is my home now,” Wriddhiman told The Telegraph on Monday.

By the wicketkeeper-batsman’s own admission, he got to play important roles only after parting ways with KKR. “I didn’t play many matches for the Chennai Super Kings, but I do feel I tried to make the most of whatever little opportunities that were on offer… I always made sure to give it a try.

“Here at KXIP, getting to play all the matches has been a major advantage. On playing all matches, you can come to know where you actually stand,” he said. Of course, his figures as of now for KXIP are not staggering. But the 29-year-old, apart from the two half-centuries, has come up with contributions that turned out to be significant for his team some way or the other.

“It’s always nice to score big runs for the team. But as far as I’m concerned, I wanted to do better than what I have done so far. I know I have the capability,” he emphasised.

Moving on to the Qualifier I against the Knights, Wriddhiman refuses to believe that momentum is with the home team, considering their seven-match unbeaten streak and Yusuf Pathan’s sensational 22-ball 72 versus Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“Definitely, KKR are playing quite well at the moment. But we haven’t done badly either. It will be an entirely different ball game tomorrow.

“Besides, every day you don’t get to play such kind of innings. So, I don’t really feel momentum is with them,” he made it clear.

Even if Glenn Maxwell fails to deliver, it won’t be much of a problem for the Kings XI, Wriddhiman opined. “There are bound to be some days when he’s not able to score many runs. But we have others who can contribute… So, there are very few reasons to worry about,” he signed off.

In both phases against the Knight Riders, Wriddhiman hasn't quite been able to make it big despite getting off to decent starts. Tuesday presents him with yet another opportunity to right the wrongs… And Wriddhiman is ready to rise to the occasion.