The Telegraph
Monday , March 10 , 2014
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Dinda’s bouncer: Shami & I could be the fear factor

- Don’t want to look back at Ranji loss, says Tamil Nadu coach Raman
Ashok Dinda and Mohammed Shami, at the Eden, on Sunday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Tight, disciplined bowling has been the hallmark of Bengal’s success this season. Apart from earning Bengal a Ranji Trophy semi-final berth, bowlers stuck to their job to ensure the team’s safe passage to the knockout phase of the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

And now, before the all-important quarter-final tie against Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday, at the Eden, Bengal have Mohammed Shami at their disposal that makes the pace attack wear a lethal look. Ashok Dinda, though, went a step ahead with his analysis.

“The Dinda-Shami combination could be a reason to worry for our opponents. You may well say that Shami and myself could be the fear factorů We form a lethal combination,” Dinda said, after Sunday’s training session, at the Eden.

Besides Shami’s presence, the 29-year-old also emphasised on the conditions that should provide Bengal with an edge over Tamil Nadu. “When Shami and myself will bowl in tandem, I do have a feeling that opponents will have a reason to think about.

“Look, both of us are experienced enough and we do have it in us to create problems for our rivals. Tamil Nadu have a very good batting line-up, no doubt about it. They have batsmen like Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik and so on. But considering how we have performed so far, I feel we are more than ready to have a go at them.

“We might not get a green-top here because of the BCCI rules... But the pitch is hard and seems to be having good carry as well. And even if it’s not a green-top, I’m sure there will be some amount of grass on the wicket.

“In that sense, we may have the advantage of playing at home,” Dinda explained.

In the group stage of this season’s Ranji Trophy, Bengal were presented with a rank turner at the Chepauk. Yet, they were able to carve out a four-run win over hosts Tamil Nadu. Dinda, however, doesn’t want to read too much into the strategy of Tamil Nadu in that game.

“It wasn’t something that they should have felt guilty about. Like us, they also wanted to win that game at any cost. Three points wouldn’t have been enough for either side... It’s all part of the game.”

The presence of Woorkeri Raman — Tamil Nadu coach — won’t be a factor for Tuesday’s quarter final, Dinda believes. “The opposition coach may well go about with his strategies. But the game is played on the ground.

“We’ve been playing for so many years. So, we are ready with any strategy that our rivals may come up with. Besides, our players, namely Manoj (Tiwary), Wriddhiman (Saha) and Sayan Sekhar Mondal are among runs. And our captain (Laxmi Ratan Shukla), too, will be back on his lucky pitch. So, looking at the present situation, I think a challenging job lies ahead of Tamil Nadu.

Raman, on the other hand, stressed on the improvement Bengal have had this season under Ashok Malhotra. “Bengal have done extraordinarily well this season. Hats off to Ashok because coaching is not easy just in Bengal, but at this very level itself.

“I feel Bengal needed this kind of improvement because they really have talented blokes here,” he said on the sidelines of Tamil Nadu’s training session.

Raman, though, made it clear that he is not at all interested in dwelling with the past. “See, I really don’t want to look back at this season’s Ranji match. It happened months ago. This is a one-day game and all depends on how you perform on the particular day.

“At the end of the day, we are all professionals,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, an upbeat Baroda take on the Railways in Monday’s pre-quarters, at the Eden. With captain Yusuf Pathan in good touch, Baroda will be able to avail the services of India middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu and all-rounder Irfan Pathan as well.