Ranji Trophy: Bengal bank on pace attack
Bengal are likely to go in with three specialist quicks along with a seamer all-rounder in their Ranji Trophy opener against Uttar Pradesh beginning at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.
Their pace attack has been Bengal’s strength over the last two editions of the tournament, while the Eden pitch also sports a fair amount of grass that prompted the team management to pick three fast bowlers.
Akash Deep and Ishan Porel, who’s making a comeback after missing the national T20s and one-dayers for being unwell, are set to be the two frontline quicks for Bengal. Porel’s fitness is still a concern, but the team management believes he should be able to rise to the occasion and deliver.
As for the third specialist pacer, Bengal seem a bit undecided over whether to hand a first-class debut to any one of the two left-armers -- Geet Puri and Durgesh Dubey -- or would give an opportunity to Pritam Chakraborty (who last played a Ranji game back in January 2015) or Ravi Kant Singh.
Sayan Sekhar Mondal is set to carry out the seamer all-rounder’s role, while Shahbaz Ahmed, the other all-rounder, will be the lone spinner in the XI.
In terms of batting, which has perennially been Bengal’s problematic area, KoushikGhosh, Abhishek Das and the in-form Sudip Gharami will be forming the top order in the absence of regular captain Abhimanyu Easwaran, who’s in the India Test squad in Bangladesh as back-up opener.
The top three will be followed by Anustup Majumdar, stand-in captain Manoj Tiwary, Shahbaz, wicketkeeper-batter Abishek Porel and Mondal, followed by the three fast bowlers.
The task will obviously not be too easy for Bengal against a gritty Uttar Pradesh side, which features batters like Akshdeep Nath and Rinku Singh, who had an impressive IPLseason for Kolkata Knight Riders this year.
“What matters is how well we execute. A good start is a must,” head coach Laxmi Ratan Shukla emphasised.