The Telegraph
Tuesday , February 19 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pitch leaves Shukla & Nadeem unhappy

Calcutta: The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s directive to prepare sporting wickets in domestic cricket may have prompted the Cricket Association of Bengal to prepare pitches with a fair amount of grass, but the move hasn’t left the captains happy.

Bengal captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla and his Jharkhand counterpart Shahbaz Nadeem feel the conditions are heavily loaded in favour of the bowlers.

Shukla believes a “firmer” wicket would have helped the batsmen in the ongoing zonal leg of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

“It’s a challenging wicket,” said the Bengal captain. “It would have been better for one-day cricket had the wicket been a bit firmer… I’m not complaining…But the fact is that the toss factor is becoming vital under the circumstances.”

Nadeem also voiced his concern on the wicket. “The wicket has been tough for the batsmen. The matches have been low scoring in this meet so far… It would have been better had the wickets suited batsmen in one-day matches.”

Bengal may have won on Monday but their batsmen’s failure is bound to come under the scanner. Shukla felt the batsmen need to mend their ways straightaway. “The batting hasn’t been good and there’s no doubt about it. The batsmen have to take responsibility,” he said.

Shukla said he didn’t wish to go in at No.6. “I wanted to give others a chance and had planned to come down the order… Thankfully, I had a good stand with Wriddhiman… The batsmen just failed to apply themselves… Remember the wicket was better in the second half.

“Subhamoy and Wridhiman were going well… They had a good partnership. I had padded up in an effort to get the bonus point… Wriddhiman's dismissal was the turning point.”

Though Shukla came up with another all-round display, it was Shami Ahmed’s unbeaten 23 off eight balls that helped Bengal coast to victory. “I always try my best… Whenever I get a chance I focus on my batting… The experience with the Indian team has given me the confidence,” said Shami.

Has he been giving special attention to his batting? “No special attention… But I have been giving time to batting during nets… I’ve been playing my natural game.”

Nadeem said the loss of wickets in the middle-overs cost them dear. “We started off well but losing wickets proved to be a setback. We needed a few more runs… ”