The entire world order was completely different when Bengal last won the Ranji Trophy nearly 33 years ago. But what hasn’t changed in these three decades is the ambience at the Eden as Bengal get ready to win their second Ranji crown at the iconic venue.
Captain Manoj Tiwary, head coach Laxmi Ratan Shukla and the rest of the Bengal contingent have all soaked up the fervour building up to the decider against Saurashtra beginning on Thursday.
Their approach though is to take it as “just another knockout game”. But deep down, one can sense the level of determination in Tiwary and Shukla, who have both been part of Ranji finals in the past but are yet to get a feel of the coveted trophy.
With an eye on the Eden pitch which looks to be pace-friendly, Bengal are set to bolster their already-potent seam attack by including Akash Ghatak in place of spinner Pradipta Pramanik. In batting, a lot will again rely on crisis man Anustup Majumdar against the Jaydev Unadkat-led attack while it remains to be seen if Karan Lal continues to open or Sumanta Gupta is handed a debut.
Saurashtra, on their part, aim to do it for their “inspiration” Cheteshwar Pujara, who’s set to play his 100th Test in New Delhi on Friday. “We want to honour him with the trophy,” skipper Unadkat, as determined as Tiwary, said.
For the captain, it would be “ideal” if he wins the trophy and returns to the Indian team. “That’s certainly one of my goals,” he said on the eve of the final.
For sure, Unadkat has a statement to make.