Calcutta: Minutes after the young Sudip Chaterjee held on to Rudra Pratap Singh’s thick edge to mark the end of Uttar Pradesh’s second innings and ensure Ashok Dinda’s seventh scalp, the pacer ran up to the second floor VIP box at the BC Roy Clubhouse to meet his wife Sreyasi.
There weren’t too many around at the Eden to witness Dinda destroy Uttar Pradesh and pave the way for Bengal’s thumping victory. Sreyasi, too, paid a late visit and by the time she settled down, the hero had already pocketed six wickets. But the smile on Dinda’s face when Sreyasi congratulated him said how much it mattered to him.
Interestingly, Dinda isn’t really bothered whether other important personalities took note of his good show. In a similar situation, when one has lost his place in the national side, many would have opted for self-advertisement, ensuring the best quotes draw the desired attention. But Dinda doesn’t belong to that school.
When reminded that national selector Syed Saba Karim was present at the Eden and witnessed his super bowling, Dinda’s simple answer was: “Yes I know… He said ‘well done and well bowled’… I never really concentrate on such things. It’s not the first time that a national selector has been present during a match where I have done well. So it’s nothing new.”
But his eyes lit up when someone spoke about his wife being present at the ground to watch his seven-wicket haul. “She has always supported me… I’m happy that she could see me bowl well… It becomes all the more special.
“This is one of my best performances at the Eden and I’m happy that she was present in person to see it,” Dinda, the Man of the Match, said.
Dinda revealed that he had words of encouragement from none other than Sourav Ganguly on Sunday evening. “Dadi had called yesterday… He didn’t say much, but said that I have been bowling well and I can do it for Bengal. Such words of encouragement help you gain in confidence,” the pacer said.
Asked how life away from the Indian team is, Dinda said: “I never think of the Indian team when I’m playing for Bengal… At the moment, I only have Ranji Trohpy on mind and my entire focus is on helping the team make the next round.”
But then, isn’t he hopeful that his impressive performances will help him chart his way back into the national team? “Why should I think that? When I was dropped from the national team, it wasn’t really because I was performing poorly… So I’m not bothered about such things,” Dinda shot back.
Captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who too had a brilliant match, lauded his team for the eight-wicket victory.
“It’s an excellent performance by the boys… The way the youngsters proved themselves was outstanding… They stood up to the challenge and that’s the best part. We have to continue with this form in our next match, against Tamil Nadu as well,” Shukla said.
He singled out Sudip for special mention. “We have bowled very well, but if you ask me what has been the highlight of our performance in this match, I would say it’s fielding… We have fielded excellently. Sudip was outstanding in the slips… Honestly, I haven’t seen a better slip fielder in Bengal cricket,” he said.
Shukla pointed out how the green top at the Eden helped Bengal, saying: “We always said that the wicket was prepared from a positive point of view… Dinda bowled superbly to prove me right.”