The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Very harsh, say Bengal bowlers

Calcutta: The new Duleep Trophy format hasn’t thrilled all cricketers. The bowlers, in particular, don’t seem to be happy.

Of the six from Bengal who played Duleep Trophy this season — Rohan Gavaskar, Sourashish Lahiri (Elite B), Ranadeb Bose, Devang Gandhi, Deep Dasgupta (Elite A) and Laxmi Ratan Shukla (Elite C) — the bowling trio of Ranadeb, Sourashish and Laxmi feels they didn’t get enough chance to show their skills.

Former India stumper Deep is of the opinion that a “sense of belonging” doesn’t come in this kind of a format. Devang feels that only performance counts.

“Since the boys are coming from different parts, it’s tough to adjust. The sense of belonging doesn’t really come in,” Deep said. However, the plus point of this format is that it gives the younger players a chance to interact with the seniors.

Ranadeb, Bengal’s highest wicket-taker (45) this season, hit out at the format which has done away with zonal sides.

“In one game after I took two wickets on Day I, I just wasn’t given a bowl on Day II. Then in another match, Irfan Pathan and Sarandeep Singh took the new ball and I was made to stand at deep thirdman the whole day.”

Bengal off-spinner Sourashish sounded equally disappointed. “The fellow-feeling is lacking in this sort of a system. Also, when the captain doesn’t know your strength, you are not properly used.”

In the first game Sourashish played, Rohan was his captain. But after that M.S.K. Prasad took over. “I was underbowled, but maybe I could have done a bit better.” He was dropped for the last two games.

Shukla said: “I bowled quite well in the first match. Though I didn’t get a wicket, I conceded 40 runs in 17 overs. Strangely, I didn’t get a chance to play in the next games,” Laxmi added.

Gandhi didn’t support the ‘fellow-feeling’ theory. “The belonging only comes in when you’re performing. It’s a good format and it almost feels like playing for the country.”

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