Talks of competition between them haven't had any effect on their relationship as they don't focus on that at all. For Rishabh Pant and his more experienced counterpart, Wriddhiman Saha, it's all about helping each other out for their collective improvement and betterment of Indian cricket.
"We (me and Rishabh) keep joking around," Saha himself told IANS. "We train together and we keep talking about the game and otherwise also. He always tries to give his best. There are few things which we have had a chat about."
The veteran gloveman sat out during the recently held two-Test series in New Zealand where Pant came back into the playing XI. That, after Pant making way for Saha on comeback from injury ahead of the home season against South Africa, Bangladesh despite settling into the side with terrific performances on difficult tours to England and Australia.
"I have told Rishabh a few things which he will try according to his comfort zone," Saha added. "He will try during training. It’s not like he will do it for one day and it will work. So, if he feels those things will work for him, he will try and implement them in his training."
Pant, while a better all-round batsman, would do well to imbibe a few of Saha's qualities behind the stumps. "It’s not like tips. It’s a discussion. I have told him these are things I follow and it makes my job easier," Saha said. "You can also try them and see if it works for you. See it’s very personal. But yes, we do discuss wicketkeeping."
Being dropped in New Zealand, around eight months before the next Test assignment in Australia where again batting ability is likely to be weighted higher in value to the side, Saha now faces an uncertain future at the age of 36. He, however, doesn't like to read the situation along those lines.
"We all play for India," he said. "The team decides the best combination and we have to respect that. I had played the last series, he (Rishabh) did not play. In New Zealand, he played and I did not. Individually, yes we all expect to play. But ultimately the team is first."
With the 13th edition of the IPL postponed until at least April 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saha is currently at home in Bengal and spending time with his family, which recently welcomed his second child.
"Life and family comes first. Then you can talk about sport," he said. "We all sacrifice a lot for the sport but eventually if a lot of people are hampered, that is not necessary."
"So, we need to take necessary precautions. For the time being, we all have to wait and when the situation gets better, we all will look to do well in the IPL."
"We are not going out at all," Saha added. "People are also coming over less and even if they are, we are maintaining the required distance while talking. The child is safe. He is at home all the time and we are making sure whenever he is touched, our hands are properly sanitized."
(Inputs from IANS)