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Patiala pitch upsets Bengal think tank

The pitch has been in the news for the wrong reasons after the game between Punjab and Andhra got over in just two days
Arun Lal

A Staff Reporter   |   Calcutta   |   Published 10.02.20, 08:01 PM

Bengal are annoyed with the pitch on offer for their crucial Ranji Trophy Group A game versus Punjab, beginning from Wednesday at the Dhruv Pandove Stadium in Patiala.

The pitch has been in the news for the wrong reasons after the previous game there, between Punjab and Andhra, got over in just two days. At the same time, Punjab had to struggle to chase down just 129, losing six wickets in the process.

Based on the proceedings of that match, curator Ishtayaq Khan was replaced by Sunil Chauhan, who’s in the Elite group of BCCI curators, only three days prior to the game.

But that doesn’t seem to have solved matters for Bengal. Besides, a squad member even alleged that the new curator wasn’t rolling on the area where the spinners are expected to land the ball.

“He kept rolling the wicket on the middle, not where the spinners land the ball. The good-length spot was left unrolled, which is really strange.

“This happens generally on wickets where the ball is unlikely to turn even on Day IV, not on a pitch that looks like a dustbowl even before the match has begun,” he said.

Although it is against lodging any official complaint, the Bengal team management wants the BCCI to take serious note of the matter. Calls to Chauhan for his version, however, went unanswered.

Asked for his views on the pitch, Bengal coach Arun Lal said: “It’s not a wicket which will help good, skilful cricket.

“It’s still under-prepared… Maybe slightly better than how it was in the previous game (Punjab versus Andhra)…

“It seems to be a viciously turning track, although I hope it won’t be another two-day finish.”

The venue had also hosted the final of the CK Nayudu Trophy between Bengal U-23 and Punjab U-23 in early 2019, and that game too lasted hardly two days. “On that occasion too, we had to play on a track turning square from Day I.

“The match lasted one-and-a-half days,” Bengal U-23 coach Sourashish Lahiri said.

Bengal, needing at least three points from this game to guarantee a knockout berth, are set to go in with an extra spinner. “Definitely, we will play an extra spinner. The choice now is whether we play with just one medium pacer,” Lal said.

It won’t be surprising if Ramesh Prasad is handed a first-class debut.


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