Ranji Trophy: Pitch poser for Bengal
Ideally, Bengal’s final Ranji Trophy Group A game against Odisha, beginning on Tuesday at Eden Gardens, was to be an opportunity for the home team to finetune certain aspects before the knockout round and also test their bench strength.
Bengal, led by Manoj Tiwary, have already qualified for the quarter finals.
But on match eve, the Eden pitch appears to be a concern for the Bengal team management. The pitch, currently under the supervision of BCCI curator Ashok Verma, has undergone “excess watering” which appears to have raised eyebrows in both the Bengal and Odisha camps.
Besides, the practice pitches, which are managed by the host association (Cricket Association of Bengal), also seemed a tad “under-prepared”. Although it’s not serious, pacer Akash Deep got hurt during Monday’s training session with one ball suddenly keeping low.
Bengal, group toppers with 32 points from six matches so far, are yet to finalise their XI. “We’ll take a call only after we see the pitch tomorrow (Tuesday) before the toss,” assistant coach Sourashish Lahiri said.
Earlier, keeping in mind the usual conditions at the Eden, the Bengal team management was keener on handing a first-class debut to all-rounder Akash Ghatak in place of left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik.
But that decision has been kept on hold till captain Tiwary and head coach LaxmiRatan Shukla see the wicket ahead of the toss.
Senior pacer Mukesh Kumar, though, will not be available as he’s there in the India squad for the coming T20Is against New Zealand. Seamer Pritam Chakraborty is set to come in as Mukesh’sreplacement.
⚫ Match starts: 8.45am
Chennai: India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who is making a return to competitive cricket following knee surgery last year, on Monday said his first priority is to get “100 per cent” match fit ahead of the Test series against Australia.
“I am feeling good to be back on the field,” Jadeja, who will lead Saurashtra in their final Ranji Trophy Group B league match against Tamil Nadu beginning here on Tuesday, told reporters. “Once I am 100 per cent fit, I will work more on my skills, whether it is batting or bowling.”
“...I wanted one game before the Australia series, that’s why I am here,” Jadeja, who has been picked in the India squad for the first two Tests, subject to fitness, said.