Wriddhiman Saha to undergo shoulder surgery amidst air of confusion

Wriddhiman Saha will need to undergo surgery for a posterosuperior labral tear on his right shoulder, the injury that has sidelined the keeper-batsman from India’s forthcoming five-Test series against England. The surgery is slated to be conducted at the end of July or early August in Manchester and will need significant post-op rehabilitation for full recovery meaning the 33-year-old could be out of competitive action for a long time.

The latest update on Saha was provided through a BCCI bulletin in an attempt to clear the confusion after the emergence of contrasting reports over the nature of the Bengal player’s injury. It was understood, and also validated by chief selector MSK Prasad in an interview with Telegraph, that a thumb fracture sustained during the IPL was the reason for Saha’s absence from the 18-man Test squad for the England series. The bulletin clarified that Saha had seemingly suffered a relapse of a shoulder injury, he first reported to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) physios in late January.

Saha was ruled out of the third Test in South Africa early this year with a hamstring injury and reported to the NCA physio post the Test series (on January 29), where he also complained of right shoulder pain. The labral tear was detected, an ultrasound-guided injection was administered and was followed by a rehabilitation program at the NCA.

He was declared fit and discharged by the NCA on March 19, paving the way for his participation in the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad. On May 7, in a game against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Hyderabad, Saha fell twice and complained of shoulder pain and stiffness to the SRH physiotherapist. A second ultrasound injection was administered and Saha missed five IPL games as NCA physio Ashish Kaushik found the shoulder to be in the same condition post the South Africa tour and prescribed another period of rehab.

When Saha returned to action for the second qualifier against Kolkata Knight Riders on May 25, he hurt his thumb (later revealed to be a fracture). This injury ruled him out of the Afghanistan Test although the BCCI release on June 2 made no mention of his shoulder injury. The BCCI bulletin, however, states that Saha had complained of no shoulder pain or stiffness then.

A month later, on July 2, Saha’s thumb had healed completely but when he checked back in for rehab the following day, he reported that he had been experiencing “pain and restricted movement in his right shoulder”. An MRI scan revealed then that the labral tear had worsened. When the injury didn’t respond to another steroid injection, Saha was declared unfit for selection for the England Tests and surgery prescribed.

BCCI’s announcement of the squad, however, made no mention of Saha’s latest injury setback leading to speculations of his insufficient recovery from the thumb injury. The latest bulletin however categorically specifies that all of Saha’s treatment and rehab process at the NCA was “performed in coordination with the team management and the GM of Operations (Saba Karim).”

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