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Raman: Aim to play aggressive cricket

Calcutta: For Bengal coach Woorkeri Raman, playing with a positive and aggressive attitude is more important than winning titles.

Speaking to the media after Bengal’s first practice session ahead of their opening Ranji Trophy match against defending champions Rajasthan, at the Eden on Monday, Raman said: “My primary objective is to help Bengal play better cricket than what we did last season. We played better cricket last season than what we played in the 2010-11 season. So, we hope to continue to raise our game.

“Our aim will be to play with a positive attitude… We want to play aggressively. I believe that if we can show the right character and execute our plans, given that everything else falls in place, we can win the title. For me, it would be more satisfying if we can play aggressive cricket and even fail to win the title.”

The Ranji Trophy will be played in a revised format this season. Twenty-seven teams will be divided into three groups of nine each. The top three teams from Groups A and B, and the top two from Group C, will qualify for the knockout stage. The teams will be playing an extra match too.

The points system has also been modified. Now, an outright win fetches six points instead of five.

Raman, however, said that the changes would not alter Bengal’s approach to the game. “There is nothing enticing… These are all minor changes. The challenge remains the same. The basic idea is to qualify for the next phase. So, it will all depend on which team peaks at the right time and performs well. We want to start on a good note and ensure that we maintain the momentum. We have to be careful about complacency… Also we have to see that a loss does not dampen our spirits,” said Raman.

Bengal are placed in Group A along with Rajasthan, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Madhya Pradesh, Saurashtra, Railways, Punjab, Gujarat. Speaking about their group, Raman said: “All side are very competitive in the group… We cannot take any opposition lightly. We are a young side… So, we will be making a fresh start. Hopefully, the youngsters will be able to make an impact.”

Five players were missing from training on Monday. While Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha and Ashok Dinda are busy with India A duty, Writam Porel and Veer Pratap Singh are playing in the Col. C.K. Nayudu Trophy for Bengal. The coach informed that the three India A players will only join the squad on the day of the match.