Calcutta: An inexperienced bowling attack will be Bengal’s main concern in their Ranji Trophy quest this season. An Ashok Dinda is there, but then he spends most of his time with Team India nowadays.
The Bengal selectors picked a 15-member squad for the first two matches (versus Rajasthan and Punjab) on Saturday, but the lack of seasoned campaigners in the bowling line-up is not really their fault. The dependable Ranadeb Bose is not in the scene anymore and the talented Shami Ahmed is out with an injury.
Bengal begin their campaign against champions Rajasthan, at the Eden, on Friday. Manoj Tiwary, expectedly, has been named the captain. Pacers Sourav Sarkar and Veer Pratap Singh have been picked as Dinda’s partners, while Iresh Saxena, Arnab Nandy and rookie Aritra Chaterjee are the spinners. None have the desired experienced or record that can be banked upon.
Taking a closer look at the statistics will make things clear. The 27-year-old Sourav and the 20-year-old Veer have only played 20 and two first-class matches respectively in their career. Also, that Sourav has only taken nine wickets in his last four first-class matches and Veer has only four wickets to his name show how lean the pace attack will be.
Unless the duo puts up inspired shows, Dinda will be left with too much to do. Dinda was in spectacular form last season, taking 59 wickets. He has started the ongoing season on a bright note as he scalped nine wickets in two matches to help East Zone retain the Duleep Trophy. But it’s a team game after all.
“I admit that the pace attack lacks in experience… But these were the best available options. I really hope that Sourav and Veer deliver along with Dinda,” one of the selectors said. “It’s not that we don’t have talented pacers… Youngsters like Ravikant Singh and Alok Pratap Singh are busy with their under-25 engagements… The experienced Shib Shankar Paul lacks in match practice. But we have asked Paul to come and train with us. He has performed well in the last couple of club matches. If he attains match fitness, we might give him a chance in the future,” explained the selector.
The spin department is even poorer in strength. Iresh did extremely well in the Duleep Trophy final, but going by his 15-match first-class record he is very inconsistent. And for Arnab and Aritra, it’s still early days. Given the situation, do not be surprised if Manoj and Anustup Majumdar’s part-time bowling emerge as the lifeline for the team.
Manoj Tiwary (captain), Partha Sarathi Bhattacharjee, Rohan Banerjee, Jayojeet Basu, Writam Porel, Anustup Majumdar, Wriddhiman Saha, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Iresh Saxena, Ashok Dinda, Sourav Sarkar, Arnab Nandy, Veer Pratap Singh, Subhamoy Das and Aritra Chatterjee.