|Wriddhiman Saha, on Monday. Picture by Prem Singh
Indore: Ashok Malhotra is not someone to mince his words. So, he didn’t have any hesitation in expressing his disappointment over the failure of the youngsters in the Bengal team after Monday’s 10-wicket defeat to Maharashtra.
“I think the youngsters are not being able to back themselves… Pressure is the name of the game. They have to bat well, if not in the first innings, then definitely in the second… But they couldn’t… That left me disappointed,” Malhotra said.
“We have Laxmi (Ratan Shukla), Manoj (Tiwary), Wriddhiman (Saha). They are obviously the nucleus of the Bengal team. But we still don’t have the others…
“I still don’t have a No.3 and a No.7… We are still looking for somebody along with Arindam Das to open the innings.
“Altogether, we have to find batsmen who can bat for five hours. Otherwise, we will never be successful in Ranji Trophy,” Malhotra was loud and clear in his assessment.
Shukla, on the other hand, rued that losing the toss took the game away from them. “I would reiterate that the toss played an extremely crucial role… Losing the toss affected the outcome of the match, I have no doubt about that.”
“Yes, we should have batted better in the second innings. But we were never in this match after we lost the toss,” Shukla said.
The captain, however, is proud of his team for finishing within the top four. “I’m proud that we are among the top four of the country…
“We have missed a berth in the final, but I would like to remind that the way we fought this season, we have left a mark on the national scene.
“I hope this inspires us to perform better in the future,” Shukla added.
He, however, admitted that there are areas where the team has to improve a lot.
“We have to work on many things… Our batting is one such area.
“But I have confidence that we have enough talent in Bengal to come up with answers to the problems that we have,” Shukla signed off.