Calcutta: Much as he would love a Team India call-up, Ranadeb Bose isnít putting himself under pressure by allowing that thought to dominate him 24x7. Instead, he has been firing out batsmen with the ease of an ace marksman.
The 27-year-old mediumpacer began Bengalís latest Ranji engagement, on Wednesday, with 31 wickets from five matches. He has already added six to take the No.2 spot among bowlers in the countryís premier domestic competition.
Only Haryanaís Joginder Sharma has a richer haul ó 39, but has played an extra match as that group has eight teams compared to Bengalís seven.
Sharma played three ODIs in Bangladesh 25 months ago and has admirers in the senior national selection committee, but Ranadeb meets the requirements set out by chairman Dilip Vengsarkar: Form and fit- ness.
Itís no surprise, of course, that Vengsarkar (a former captain) didnít commit himself when contacted by The Telegraph. He merely said: ďEverybody in form is going to be considered on Friday... In fact, Iíll be interested to know what my colleagues feel about the performers...Ē
Ranadeb, clearly, couldnít have timed making the headlines any better as Friday is when the selectors meet to pick the squad for the first two ODIs against the West Indies (Nagpur on January 21 and Cuttack three days later) and the 30 probables for the World Cup.
Itís significant, perhaps, that Irfan Pathan isnít exactly in favour and Munaf Patel isnít available for those ODIs.
Vengsarkar is going to rely a lot on his colleagues (Venkatapathi Raju, Bhupinder Singh, Sanjay Jagdale and Ranjib Biswal) as he was in South Africa for almost a month and, so, cut off from the action at home.
Ranadeb, it may be recalled, was called to the first national camp (in Bangalore) at the start of Greg Chappellís tenure. That was in mid-2005. He then played the Irani later that year, but quickly went out of the frame.
Today, itís different.
THE RANADEB RUN
The ongoing Bengal versus Rajasthan tie is Ranadeb Bose’s seventh first-class outing (one in Duleep Trophy and six in Ranji) of the 2006-07 season and the pacer has already bagged 38 wickets @ 14.50, including four five-wicket innings hauls and one 10-wicket match haul. Following is Ranadeb’s match-by-match performance this season (*till Day I of match vs Rajasthan):
- vs Central Zone (Oct. 19-22, 2006, in Gwalior): 7-1-29-1 & 11-1-43-0
- vs Punjab (Nov. 23-26, 2006, in Mohali): 20.2-6-47-4 & 16-4-35-2
- vs Mumbai (Dec. 1-4, 2006, in Calcutta): 34.1-14-69-5 & 3-1-8-0
- vs Gujarat (Dec. 17-20, 2006, in Calcutta): 27-6-65-4 & 26-7-52-1
- vs Hyderabad (Jan. 2-5, 2007, in Hyderabad): 24.5-7-44-3 & 20-9-25-7
- vs Rajasthan* (from Jan. 10, 2007, in Calcutta): 18.2-8-34-6
TOP RANJI WICKET-TAKERS
Following is the list of the top wicket-takers in Ranji Trophy this season thus far (updated till Wednesday):
- 39 — Joginder Sharma (Haryana, 7 matches)
- 37 — Ranadeb Bose (Bengal, 6)
- 34 — Rajesh Pawar (Baroda, 7)
- 30 — Rakesh Patel (Baroda, 7)
- 30 — Praveen Kumar (UP, 7)
Compiled by Mohandas Menon