Calcutta: Many felt Bengal’s first innings lead of 72 over Uttar Pradesh could have been bigger had some of the batsmen showed a little more patience. But captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla is not worried about that.
“Look, we all know that more is always better… But I’m not thinking about that. We have a good lead of 72 and we will have to fight with that. We need an outright victory from this match,” Shukla said at the end of the day’s play, on Sunday.
Shukla, however, feels that his team gave away 15 runs more to UP at the end of the day. “We gave away 15 runs extra… We have to ensure that we keep their second innings score to a minimum. It’s good that Sourav (Sarkar) and (Ashok) Dinda bowled well today… We need similar performances on the third day,” he said.
About his own knock, Shukla said that he was just focused on being positive. “I didn’t try anything extraordinary… I was focused and played positive cricket. I wouldn’t say that they gave away too many loose balls. It was just my day… I didn’t let the bowlers dominate.”
Asked if, given the circumstances, it was one of his best, he said: “I don’t know whether if it was my best… I’m just interested in the team doing well. At the moment, we need a victory, we need points… That’s the only thing I’m thinking about.”
He reiterated that a win is his ultimate goal. “There’s nothing more important than a win now… That’s our ultimate goal,” he said.
Young Sudip Chatterjee, who made a patient 66, drew praise from his captain. “If anyone played a brilliant innings today, it was Sudip… He played aggressively and I will give him points for that. Hats off to him for showing the determination to stick at the wicket.”
Given the lack of experience in the Bengal batting line-up, Shukla was asked if he would like to bat up the order. He replied with a smile: “I have to discuss that with the coach.” He also sympathised with counterpart Piyush Chawla, who got injured by one of his shots. “It was a very unfortunate incident… Hope he recovers soon.”