The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal bank on Siliguri success

Calcutta: Fresh from their dramatic Ranji Trophy triumph over Railways, Bengal begin their East Zone limited-overs campaign against Assam in Agartala Friday. There will, however, be some changes to the team that registered the memorable victory at the Kanchenjungha Stadium.

Bengal is likely to go into the match with the two specialist openers chosen for the tournament, Aurijit Bose and Nikhil Haldipur. That will mean Deep Dasgupta coming down the order. The team management is of the opinion that Deep is not the ideal opener for one-dayers and will be more suited in the middle-order.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who held his nerve and batted with authority during the crucial second innings against Railways in Siliguri, is unlikely to be promoted in the batting order. As of now, he is likely to bat at No. 7.

“The pitch looks a turner and the ball will get low as the match progresses. So, it’ll be better if we bat first and set up a good total on the board,” Bengal coach Sambaran Banerjee told The Telegraph over telephone.

However, he is in a bit of a catch-22 situation, because of the 8.30 am start. “There’s always a bit of fog so early in the morning. And with the dew around, the ball is sure to do a bit. That’s one thing the openers have to cope up with,” the coach added.

The team is hoping to cash in on the Siliguri success. “The boys are an inspired lot and we want to keep the momentum going,” Sambaran said.

Another motivating factor for Bengal will be the fact that they failed to qualify last season. “I’m sure the boys will try to put things in order,” the coach opined.

One player who got a special mention was the old war-horse Utpal Chatterjee. “He has this outstanding ability of delivering in crunch situations. We would love to see him doing the same here again,” Sambaran added.

Rohan Gavaskar, Deep and Nikhil had fever Thursday. “Rohan and Deep didn’t practice today, but I’m sure they will be available for the game,” he said.


Bengal (likely): Nikhil Haldipur, Aurijit Bose, Devang Gandhi, Rohan Gavaskar, Subhamoy Das, Deep Dasgupta, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Sanjeeb Sanyal, Utpal Chatterjee, Sourashish Lahiri, Ranadeb Bose

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