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Shukla not living in the past

Agartala: Last year’s runners-up Bengal will not be dwelling in the past when they take the field against Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare Trophy final here on Monday, captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla said. Bengal lost the final last year against Saurashtra.

According to Shukla the team have moved on from that defeat and would look at Monday’s final “as just another match”.

“It’s just another match and Tamil Nadu is just another opponent. When you want to achieve something, you need to play well,” Shukla said after the team’s three-hour practice session at the Maharaja Bir Bikram Stadium on Sunday.

“Past is past… What has happened has happened. What we want to achieve tomorrow is what matters. We have to play sensible cricket,” the Bengal captain said.

“The batsmen need to spend some time at the wicket. On this wicket you can’t just play aggressively.”

Shukla’s jaws tightened when a journalist asked him to react on Tamil Nadu captain R Ashwin’s remark that Bengal lack depth in batting.

“I would not really like to react to that. We’ll see that tomorrow,” he said after a pause.

Tamil Nadu coach W.V. Raman said the team were not worried about the fact that they haven’t played on the ground in their last two matches.

“It doesn’t seem to be too different. As long as we play well, it shouldn’t be a problem,” the former India cricketer said.

He did not agree that all Tamil Nadu need to do is to dismiss Manoj Tiwary cheaply.

“Cricket is a game of 11 players. We’re not thinking about any individual player. We have prepared for the Bengal team, which is made up of 11 players,” he quipped.

HEAD TO HEAD

Wills Trophy 1998/99, quarter final: Bengal 282 (D. Gandhi 103). TN 171 (L.R. Shukla 4/30). Bengal won by 111 runs

Zonal ODI 2002-03 (final round) — Bengal 239/8. TN 241/7 TN won by 3 wkts

Zonal ODI 2003-04 (final round) — Bengal 280/6 (SG Das 84; M. Tiwary 68*). TN 260 (RR Bose 6/35). Bengal won by 20 runs

Zonal ODI 2004-05 (semi-final) — TN 277 (V. Sivaramakrishnan 123; HK Badani 54; S.S. Paul 3/40); Bengal 250 (49.3 ovs) (M. Tiwary 58; S. Sriram 5/43). TN won by 27 runs


Men to watch out for

Manoj Tiwary

The stylish right-hander is the batting mainstay of Bengal and would need to put up a stellar show if Bengal are to harbour any hopes of putting up a good total on the board. Tiwary bats at No. 4, the most important position in any team’s batting order, and bowls his own brand of medium-pace. He is also a brilliant fielder and saves quite a few runs for the side. Tiwary has donned the India colours in an one-day International against Australia.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla

The Bengal captain has regularly performed for the side with his all-round show. He bats right-handed, at No. 5, and has the capability of scoring quick runs towards the end. He has been a revelation with the ball and can be quite a tricky customer on low and slow wickets. Shukla has played in three ODIs for India and was rated as a very promising youngster in the early years of his career.

Ranadeb Bose

The tall right-arm medium pacer has been a key performer for Bengal over the years and leads the fast-bowling department of the team. He has cut down on pace over the years and focuses mainly on line and length. The miserly Bose regularly provides early breakthroughs for Bengal, and picked up the highest number of wickets for the state in the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy season. With age not on his side, he, though, has failed to impress the national selectors.

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Subramaniam Badrinath

Tamil Nadu’s batting revolves around this technically sound right-hand batsman. Badrinath, who bats at No. 4, has been the batting mainstay of the state for a long time now. His thirst for runs seems to be insatiable. He is also a brilliant fielder and has played for India in three ODIs.

R. Ashwin

The tall right-arm offspinner is the Tamil Nadu captain. He made his first-class debut in the 2006-07 season and has improved in leaps and bounds. Ashwin is also a very handy late-order batsman and has time and often made useful contributions down the order.

Arun Karthik

The right-hander bats at No. 3 for the Tamil Nadu team and also bowls leg spin. The exciting youngster made his first-class debut for Tamil Nadu this season and is known to be electric on the field.

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