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Bengal’s inexperience apparent

Calcutta: Bengal face the prospect of a second successive defeat in the Ranji Trophy after another batting failure on Monday. A loss will push Bengal to the brink of relegation in the Super League. Quite a turnaround for a side that finished runners-up last season!

The defection of four frontline batsmen — Deep Dasgupta, Rohan Gavaskar, Subhamoy Das and Abhishek Jhunjhunwala — to the rebel Indian Cricket League at the start of the season are beginning to be felt. The common refrain is that the youngsters who have replaced them are not mature enough.

“These youngsters are inexperienced… It would have been better had they been made to go through the paces at the junior level for one more year. You can’t blame them… They need time to adjust,” explained a selection committee member.

Bengal have lost two of their four matches this season — by an innings to Baroda after being shot out for 86 in their second essay in Vadodara and by six wickets to Orissa after managing 107 and 124 in Siliguri.

“Manoj Tiwary and Arindam Das are the most experienced in the line-up. To make up for this, Laxmi Ratan Shukla brought himself on at No.3 versus Baroda. It didn’t click and there is no solution in sight. You need patience and with some luck we can stay afloat this time,” the selector added.

On Monday, Bengal crashed to 149 against UP on Day I at the Eden. Manoj fell for 2. Is this over-dependence on Manoj justified? “Ideally that shouldn’t be the case,” coach Bharat Arun said.

Chief selector Arup Bhattacharjee tried to put the blame on Bharat and Shukla’s decision to bat first but that was hardly the case. Simply put, the top-order lacked the experience and the technical acumen to survive on a wicket with a tinge of green.

Deep, who guided Bengal to two consecutive runners-up finish in Ranji, didn’t wish to be dragged into it. “I don’t know… It won’t be fair for me to comment. With so many youngsters coming in, you can’t deny that experience is a problem.”

Bharat and Shukla are not losing hope yet. “There are still three more days to go. A good spell from our pacers can always tilt the balance… Tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) morning session will be very important,” felt both the coach and captain.

LOW totals this season

The following are Bengal's totals below 200 this season
86 vs Baroda (2nd innings) in Vadodara, Nov. 15-18
107 (1st innings) vs Orissa in Siliguri, Dec. 9-11
107 (2nd innings) vs Orissa in Siliguri, Dec. 9-11
149 (1st innings) vs UP at Eden, Dec. 17

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