Ranji Trophy: Bengal to play ‘smart’ card
Out of their four Ranji Trophy semi-final appearances over the last nine years, Bengal played three away from home and lost all those matches. Madhya Pradesh were one of those three teams that crushed Bengal’s final hopes, just around eight months ago when they prevailed in the semis at Alur near Bangalore.
The current Bengal team, though, doesn’t seem to be intimidated by the past. They are focused on maintaining positive intent and a smart approach going into the last-four stage clash against defending champions Madhya Pradesh in Indore beginning on Wednesday.
More importantly, on quite a few occasions in this season’s Ranji, this Bengal side has fought back and come up trumps even after conceding a first-innings lead. That will give them extra confidence against a formidable Madhya Pradesh side that will be looking to cash in on home advantage. “The guys know what they are supposed to do. It’s all about learning from the past and going in with a fresh, positive approach,” Bengal head coach Laxmi Ratan Shukla said on Tuesday.
Bengal don’t seem to be too worried by the Holkar Stadium pitch either. “It’s a sporting wicket, though it’s likely to turn as the game progresses,” assistant coach Sourashish Lahiri said.
In terms of team combination, spinner all-rounder Karan Lal is set to return to opening alongside Abhimanyu Easwaran. Left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik is likely to replace either all-rounder Akash Ghatak or pacer Ishan Porel.
⚫ Match starts: 9.30am