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Ranji Trophy: Bengal mull spin tweak for MP test

Wicket at the Alur Stadium has very little grass on it along with cracks in some parts
Arun Lal
Arun Lal
File Photo

A Staff Reporter   |   Published 13.06.22, 02:47 AM

Bengal had ticked all the boxes in the quarter final clash versus Jharkhand. After the top nine in their batting line-up scored 50-plus runs each in what was a world record in first-class cricket, the bowlers too did a fine job in restricting the opposition to under 300 on a batsman-friendly surface.

Going into the Ranji Trophy semi-final versus Madhya Pradesh, which begins in Alur (near Bangalore) from Tuesday, this buoyant Bengal side should be in a good mind-space.  However, the wicket at the Alur Stadium has very little grass on it along with cracks in some parts. That hints at the possibility of the spinners getting a fair bit of assistance.

Bengal thus are mulling a change in their team combination in the form of drafting an extra spinner in place of one of the three fast bowlers who played the last game. According to team sources, pacer Ishan Porel could make way for left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik.

Spinner all-rounder Writtick Chatterjee, who was a part of the Punjab Kings squad in this year’s IPL, is certainly another option at Bengal’s disposal. “On such a wicket, going in with an extra spinner would be the right thing to do,” head coach Arun Lal told The Telegraph from Bangalore on Sunday.

“They may water the pitch further, so we have to see tomorrow (Monday) how it’s like. All the matches held there so far (this season) have had early finishes.”

Fitness-wise, the team management is monitoring the condition of Manoj Tiwary, who’s having a bit of swollen knees after his 136 in the second innings of the quarter final. Lal, though, sounded optimistic of Tiwary’s availability in the semi-final.

“We believe he will be able to play as the swelling doesn’t really look too serious. Manoj is mentally strong as well. Besides, in these (spin-friendly) conditions, he’ll obviously be a vital cog of our batting line-up,” Lal emphasised.

“Even in the second innings of the quarter final game, the ball did turn a fair bit. Yet, Manoj was able to score a pretty impressive hundred.”

Tiwary also underwent an MRI on Sunday, with its report  not indicating anything serious, a team insider said.

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