The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 22 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Ashok bats for Laxmi

Calcutta: The Delhi DareDevils’ batting in the IPL VII so far hasn’t been very impressive. Barring JP Duminy, the others have been inconsistent. On Tuesday, Duminy failed and the DareDevils were shot out for just 84, losing the match to the Chennai Super Kings by 93 runs.

It is in such a scenario that Ashok Malhotra feels that the DareDevils haven’t been very wise in ignoring Laxmi Ratan Shukla’s all-round abilities and not including him in the XI.

Malhotra is the Bengal coach and he certainly knows how good Shukla, the Bengal captain, has played this season.

According to Malhotra, a player of the calibre of Shukla is an automatic choice, considering the format of the game. Malhotra also went on to question the cricketing sense of the DareDevils’ team mentor T.A. Sekhar. “I see the Delhi DareDevils’ matches only to watch Laxmi play… I really don’t understand how you can keep someone like him away in a T20 match.

“I really don’t know what cricketing sense T.A. Sekhar has… Probably, that’s the reason the Delhi franchise hasn’t been doing well over the last two editions of the IPL,” Malhotra said on the sidelines of CAB’s ‘Vision 2020’ camp for batsmen, conducted by Sourav Ganguly, at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake Campus ground.

The Bengal captain might well be overlooked, but his teammate Manoj Tiwary has been given a chance in all the three matches of the DareDevils so far. Manoj, who was out with an injury for a major part of the season, has found the going difficult, managing only nine runs as of now.

“Manoj has to score runs… It’s important for him to score. In T20s, you must show good temperament and play according to the needs of your team, which is paramount,” Malhotra stressed.

The ongoing three-day camp will focus mainly on helping youngsters on how to tackle pace bowling and improve on their footwork, Malhotra pointed out.

“Apart from this, the batsmen need to be taught on how to take more and more singles and convert the ones into twos. Bengal’s poor batting has got a lot to do with the lack of proper methods,” he elaborated.

Meanwhile, 20 players were short-listed out of the 81 present, on Monday, at the camp. Bengal players, including those of the age-group level, will be present on Tuesday.