Calcutta: With the new season set to take off from November 9 when Bengal play Rajasthan at home, Bengal began their practice at the Pankaj Gupta Indoor Stadium Wednesday.
The former Indian wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta, who was at practice, feels that the new season will be much tougher. “We will get to play the best teams in the zone and it’s definitely going to be a great help for all of us. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
He was also game to the fact that the wickets are becoming faster and bouncier. “From this season, scoring runs will be tough and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
Dasgupta also sounded happy that the format for the Duleep Trophy had been changed. “With the best 75 players in the country playing, there’s no scope for anyone just walking into the squad.”
However, he did not sound bothered at the criticism loaded on him for his ‘tardy’ keeping. “When someone like Rodney Marsh tells you that you have no problems with your keeping, I don’t think there’s anything to think about. I’m really aiming at doing the basics right.”
The wicket-keeper had a few sessions with the Australian keeper at the National Cricket Academy in June-July. “Those work-outs with him were immensely helpful,” he added.
Deep, however, made it quite categorical that he is not making any special preparations for the coming season. “I’m practising hard, keeping the focus right and that’s about all. I don’t need to worry about all the criticism that’s been flying around.”
Meanwhile, Bengal captain Rohan Gavaskar didn’t try to justify the string of bad performances that Bengal has been having for the preparatory tournaments. “There can be no excuses when you play poorly,” he said.
“However, it is only the beginning of the season and I’m sure the boys will be back to their best.” But Rohan sounded quite happy at the physical condition of the boys. “The boys seem to have gone through the off-season training and look quite sharp.” Asked whether the team needs a full-time physio, he said, “We had sessions with Dr Paes last season and he is perhaps the best around. But if the association decides on a full-time physio, there can’t be any problems.”
He however, sounded a bit disappointed at Raman not being there as coach anymore. “He had become very much a part of us and we had gelled quite well. It’s disappointing that he will not be working with us this season. But we have to move along.”
The captain, however, is very keen to have some proper outdoor practice before playing anymore practice matches. “There’s no point playing matches and losing badly, we need some good, hard practice.”
Meanwhile, Bengal medium-pacer Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who is on a comeback trail, sounded quite confident about doing better this season. “It’s true, we lost the matches badly in the Moin-ud-Dowla and Buchi Babu tournaments, but I’m personally satisfied with my performance.”
He felt that it is not only the batsmen’s fault that the team did not fare well in the tournaments. “Some of the wickets that we were forced to play on were nothing less than unplayable. At times, the wickets had muddy spots on them. “Moreover, you cannot judge a player on shortened 25-over games. We should be given a fair go before coming into any conclusion.”
U-15 off to Bangladesh
The 14-member Bengal under-15 team will tour Bangladesh from October 5 to 18. The team was selected for the preparatory trip Tuesday.
Rohan Banerjee, Abhishek Bhowmick, Apurba Bhat, Adit Osatwal, Kunal Chowdhury, Amit Das, sujay Das, Sitabrata Biswas, B. Amit, Sarnendu Pal, Bablu Goswami, Sourav Gharami, Rudrajit Dutta, Saif Ali.