The Telegraph
Saturday , December 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Test for Bengal batsmen

Manoj Tiwary

Calcutta/Rajkot: In what is turning out to be yet another disappointing Ranji Trophy season for Bengal, the Manoj Tiwary-led team will take fresh guard when they face Saurashtra, in a Group A encounter, beginning Saturday.

Inconsistent at home and completely listless in away ties — have been Bengal’s story so far this season. While on most occasions it has been the batting which has let the team down, the bowling hasn’t been on-the-mark either. So for Bengal to do well against Saurashtra, they would need a complete makeover, in terms of performance. The wicket at Rajkot is a batting paradise and so if the Bengal batsmen suffer another failure, they will have no where to hide.

Rajkot has been known for producing belters ideally suited for run-feasts. In the last match that was played on this ground, in which Saurashtra locked horns with Railways, the hosts amassed 576 for nine before declaring. Railways conceded the first innings lead, but not before 335 runs.

Ravindra Jadeja’s triple century in the same match was also a testimony to that. It was Jadeja’s third first-class triple century, a feat which hasn’t been achieved by any other Indian. True, Jadeja has been in superlative form this season. But even he will admit that the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium pitch helped him in his endeavour.

Will Bengal find a Jadeja? To begin with, they will have to be lucky enough to win the toss. The spin of the coin will certainly be a crucial factor as the match, in probability, will be decided on the first innings lead.