The careers of two specialist Indian Test wicketkeepers may be under the cloud. Wriddhiman Saha and Parthiv Patel have been ruled out from the Test series against England, albeit for different reasons. Saha is struggling with a debilitating injury, though the reason for Patel's exclusion is difficult to fathom. The senior selection committee, meanwhile, is accused of being guided by favouritism.   

Saha was injured during the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year. He hurt his right thumb in the second qualifier against Kolkata Knight Riders and missed the final against Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai. Saha was ruled out for the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June as his injury aggravated. The selection committee was told that he would be fit in five-six weeks. Saha went for rehabilitation in the National Cricket Academy (NCA), but ended up injuring his shoulder ahead of the fitness test. 

"The job of the NCA physio and trainer is to work towards the fitness of the players, but how do the players get new injuries? What is the NCA staff doing? It’s total mismanagement,” a senior cricketer familiar with the entire episode said. 

According to BCCI insiders, the team management is not happy with the way Saha has been batting in Tests. He has not been playing the big knocks that the team expects from him. A former BCCI official blamed the NCA staff and questioned why they could not keep Saha fit before the big series against England.

Parthiv replaced Saha in the starting eleven when the latter was injured against South Africa earlier this year. He played two Tests against the Proteas in which he scored 56 runs and took 10 catches. 

However, the team management gave Dinesh Karthik the chance ahead of Patel against Afghanistan. Karthik has a very ordinary Test record. He played his last Test in 2010 against Bangladesh. 

A BCCI insider said, "The team management prefers Dinesh Karthik because of the good terms with him. They picked him in Tests on the basis of his good record in the Nidhas Trophy in Sri Lanka and good IPL season.” 

According to sources, after the South Africa series, the team management is unhappy with Patel because he dropped a few catches. A former selection committee member said, “How is it that Karthik is a better wicketkeeper than Parthiv in Tests?” 

The Indian selectors had identified Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan as reserve wicketkeepers for T20Is, Pant and Karthik for ODIs and Patel for Tests. These players should have been automatic choices in the respective formats had someone been injured during a series.

A former Mumbai batsman blasted the selection committee and said, “Inclusion of Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant as a wicketkeepers is poor selection for Tests against England. You need experienced 'keepers in the Test series against England. Kartik has not played an international Test series for quite a long time. Pant doesn't have any experience on the fast and moving wickets of England either.” 

The Indian Test team has to pay a huge cost for this, a BCCI official said.