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Focus on points, not Patiala pitch

Bengal, placed fourth in Cross Pool, need three points against Punjab to qualify for knockout stage of this Ranji Trophy

By A Staff Reporter in Calcutta
  • Published 12.02.20, 2:52 AM
  • Updated 12.02.20, 2:52 AM
  • a min read
Bengal captain Abhimanyu Easwaran Telegraph picture

Buoyant Bengal are desperate to take the controversial Patiala pitch out of the equation when they face Punjab in a crucial Group A encounter at the Dhruv Pandove Stadium, beginning Wednesday.

Bengal, placed fourth in the Cross Pool, need three points from this game to qualify for the knockout stage of this Ranji Trophy. Even with one point Bengal have a possibility to qualify if Uttar Pradesh get seven points versus Himachal Pradesh or Andhra lose outright to Gujarat.

But the Bengal players are determined to finish the group stage with a victory and rightfully claim their place in the next round. For that, the confidence that they earned from the come-from-behind away win versus Rajasthan in their last match is surely serving as a boost.

“The wicket here is unsuitable for first-class cricket. But we are prepared. We’re prepared for any wicket. We are a good side playing very good cricket and we can play on any surface,” coach Arun Lal told The Telegraph from Patiala on the eve of the game.

“We don’t want to go into the details of pitch preparation. Instead, we are focusing on our game plan. We are just not worried.”

The Bengal camp is mentally prepared to play on a rank turner where the game could be over in two days. But the focus is on delivering irrespective of the odds and so they are in no mood to complain.

“The pitch is not in our control. We can’t keep thinking about it.

“All we can do is play our best cricket on that wicket and then see how the game goes. We have to play on different kinds of wickets in the Ranji Trophy and it all depends how quickly you can adapt,” captain Abhimanyu Easwaran stated.

Bengal are likely to go in with three spinners and may hand a debut to Ramesh Prasad, the left-arm spinner who has been a consistent wicket-taker in club cricket.

A change or two could be seen in the batting order as well.

The impressive Shahbaz Ahmed may move up to No. 6. “Shahbaz may go up the order because we’ll be trying to maintain a left-right combination,” Lal said.