| Odisha players at the Eden, on Sunday.
Telegraph pictures |
Calcutta: East Zone cricket is on a high. The maiden Duleep Trophy triumph has given the cricketers the much-needed boost which the top teams are looking to capitalise on during their zonal campaign in the National One-dayers for the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Take for example Odisha, who will begin their campaign against favourites Bengal, at Eden Gardens, on Monday. The Biplab Samantary-led side didnt have a good season having been relegated to the Plate group in the Ranji Trophy. Still with former India pacer Debashish Mohanty as coach and East captain Natraj Behera adding the edge, they are hoping for a turnaround.
We didnt have a good season in the Ranji. But after that we have shown improvement… One-dayers are a different ball game, and if we play to our potential, anything can happen, said coach Mohanty.
Bengal have had a good run in the one-dayers in recent years. They lost to Gujarat in the semi-final last season and finished runners-up in the two previous seasons.
Sourav Gangulys leadership skills have no doubt added a new dimension to the side, but it is his presence and the ability to sparkle in trying circumstances that has often left the opposition in awe.
Add to it the success of Wriddhiman Saha and Ashok Dinda, which has provided the much-needed fillip to the side. Anustup Majumdars centuries in the Duleep Trophy has also come as a boon and Bengal now have a team that has the ability to run through any side on a given day.
The tournament will see the introduction of two bouncers per over recommendation of the BCCI technical committee.
While Sourav, who is also the technical committee chairman, and Woorkeri Raman werent sure if it would be applicable from the first match itself, it was later made clear to the managers of both teams that it would come into effect. Odishas capabilities, on the other hand, remain mostly unknown. They can surprise one day and can also plunge to new depths if their form in the Ranji Trophy this season is anything to go by.
I dont know any of the Odisha players… Only Debashish Mohanty! said Sourav.
The Eden wicket has a tinge of grass much to the liking of Dinda and Shami Ahmed. Mohanty, however, wasnt sure how much of the grass would be retained on Monday morning. But to what extent pace and bounce can be extracted from the surface to make effective use of the two bouncer per over rule remains to be seen.
Bengal (likely): Sourav Ganguly (captain), Jayojit Basu, Anustup Majumdar, Wriddhiman Saha, Subhomoy Das, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Sanjib Sanyal, Arnab Nandi/Sourashish Lahiri, Iresh Saxena, Ashok Dinda, Shami Ahmed.
Odisha (from): Biplab Samantray (captain), Natraj Behera (vice-captain), Paresh Patel, Subhrajit Sahoo, Tukuna Sahu, Deepak Behera, Sujit Lenka, Arvind Singh, Govind Poddar, Basanta Mohanty, Bibhudutta Panda, Sumitosh Praharaj, Lagnajit Samal, Amit Das and Alok Mangraj.
Match starts: 8.45 am.