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Three new faces in Bengal squad

Calcutta: Looking to build a team for the future, the Bengal squad for the zonal matches of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, beginning on February 27, in Ranchi, features three new faces.

All-rounder B. Amit, off-spinner Amir Gani and pacer Pritam Chakraborty have all made the cut in the 16-member squad that was named on Sunday. And above all, Manoj Tiwary is back in the squad.

Consistent shows with both the bat and the ball for Mohun Bagan in club cricket earned Amit a place in the side, while Pritam was rewarded for his impressive performances for the Bengal Under-19 team.

Gani, though, is already a known figure, thanks to his successful outings with the India under-19 team. The 17-year-old is at present busy playing in the Under-19 World Cup.

“Look, this squad has been selected purely on the basis of the performances… Amit has been extremely consistent in club cricket this season, while Pritam was outstanding at the Under-19 level. We need to give proper exposure to these players,” captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla said.

“This is the best time to try them out… They do deserve opportunities,” he added.

On Manoj’s comeback, Shukla said: “That we have Manoj back with us is terrific news. No doubt his presence strengthens our batting… His experience, too, would be invaluable, especially for those in the early stages of their careers,” Shukla added.

Jayojit Basu and Vivek Singh, too, rode their record at the club level to secure a berth in the squad. Sayan Sekhar Mondal, who looked promising last season in a few matches, was included as the third all-rounder. Debabrata Das, on the other hand, should thank his luck for being selected as he hasn’t done anything notable of late.

Senior pacers Sourav Sarkar and Shib Shankar Paul, both of whom delivered in the Ranji Trophy, were not considered. “One-dayers are a different version altogether. We had to select players as per our requirements. But that said, the door remains open for everyone because there might be changes before the main round gets underway,” reminded Shukla.

THE SQUAD

Laxmi Ratan Shukla (captain), Sreevats Goswami, Jayojit Basu, Vivek Singh, Wriddhiman Saha, Manoj Tiwary, Sudip Chatterjee, Debabrata Das, Sayan Sekhar Mondal, B. Amit, Saurasish Lahiri, Amir Gani, Iresh Saxena, Ashok Dinda, Veer Pratap Singh, Pritam Chakraborty.