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Shukla slams batsmen

Calcutta: “Pathetic, disgusting” — that’s how Bengal captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla described his team’s batting performance, at the Eden, on Friday.

After the five-wicket loss against the Railways, in a Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final match, he wanted to use more such words to express his frustration with his team’s batting, but couldn’t find any.

“It was a sporting wicket… A wicket where the toss wasn’t a factor. In the Ranji Trophy semi-final which we lost, the toss had played a big part. But here, it was a good wicket. However, our batting was pathetic, disgusting… You can use many such words to describe our performance.

“Fact is, though we have given several chances, none of the batsmen have been able to take responsibility… I’m sorry to say, but that has been the problem throughout the season,” Shukla said.

He disagreed that mowing of the grass off the pitch influenced the outcome of the match. But he admitted that his and Wriddhiman Saha’s dismissals, while attempting big shots, affected the team’s run scoring.

“Yes, both of us were unfortunate to be dismissed that way… It was bad for the team. But at that stage, we had just 100-odd runs from 30 overs. I knew we needed at least 260 on this wicket. So we took a positive approach,” he explained.

On the other hand, Man of the Match Amit Paunikar, who made 83 off 86 balls, was a happy man. “I was confident that if I stayed at the wicket for some time, I would get runs and the team will win. I just played the balls on merit. It was a little difficult initially… But my hard work during the practice sessions paid off,” Paunikar said.

The Railways opener also oozed confidence about Sunday’s final against Karnataka. “Yes, Karnataka are a good team… But we are also playing well. We will definitely win.”