Calcutta: First-class cricket seldom sees rivalries taking an ugly turn. In other words, incidents like the Javed Miandad-Kiran More ‘jumping act’ in the 1992 World Cup are restricted to the International arena.
But there are exceptions, and one such episode took place just about a month back in the Bengal-Railways Ranji Trophy group league tie, in New Delhi.
From Railways’ Krishnakant Upadhyay making a kicking gesture towards Bengal’s Shib Shankar Paul to Ashok Dinda refusing to shake hands with Murali Kartik, it wasn’t just a clash of the bat and the ball.
Chances are that such scenes may be enacted once again when Bengal square off against Railways in a Ranji Trophy quarter-final match, beginning Wednesday, at the Eden.
Bengal, the home team, haven’t forgotten Kartik’s controversial ‘Mankading’ of Sandipan Das in that match. In fact, a reminder of the incident irks many in the team.
“At the moment, we would obviously like to look forward to the quarter-final tie and start with our preparations. But having said that, I would like to repeat that neither myself nor any of my teammates would run a batsman out in that manner. That was just not cricket … And we are no creeps to come up with that kind of stuff,” a miffed Dinda told The Telegraph on Thursday.
The group league match had also seen a heated exchange of words between Kartik and Bengal coach Ashok Malhotra, who had alleged that the left-arm spinner didn’t adhere to the spirit of the game.
There were incidents of aggressive sledging by the players of both teams as well.
Bengal had got just a single point from that match as they had conceded the first innings lead. But Dinda is determined this time to derail Railways and take his team through to the semis.
“We’re not at all interested in revenge and that kind of stuff. All we know is that we’ll enjoy home advantage as the match will be played at the Eden. Besides, we’ve had outright victories in our last two matches. The opposition should keep that in mind,” he warned.
Captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla, too, stressed on the importance of concentrating on the game.
“It’s best to ignore that incident… We have a great chance of reaching the last-four stage now that Eden will host the match. It’s imperative we focus on our strategy and approach,” he said.