Bengal’s young batting line-up will be put to test by a quality Gujarat side boasting of two India internationals in Jasprit Bumrah and Axar Patel when the two sides square off in a Ranji Trophy group A encounter, here tomorrow.
Both are on even keel with 15 points to their credit but Gujarat lead the table by virtue of better run rate.
Bengal’s young top order has fired in all three matches that they have played till now.
But it will be a tricky affair on a low and slow Kotla track where Axar can prove to be handy with his immaculate line, Bumrah can trouble with his yorkers, not to forget old wily fox Rudra Pratap Singh who can still pull a trick or two on non-responsive pitches.
The last match at Kotla between Baroda and Punjab produced nearly 1200 runs with Deepak Hooda and Yuvraj Singh scoring 293 and 260 respectively.
One expects the track for current game will be a bit better. Abhimanyu Easwaran and Sayan Sekhar Mondal have provided good starts with both having hit hundreds.
Sudeep Chatterjee has been consistently hitting half centuries but the three-figure mark eluded him. Skipper Manoj Tiwary also has been solid as ever at No 4.
Rookie Agniv Pan has had two 50s to his credit. Shreevats Goswami who comes back in the XI in place of Wriddhiman Saha also has a century to his credit.
“Gujarat are a quality side. Parthiv is a top class batsman and they have India players like Bumrah and Axar. But speciality of this Bengal team is that they are not scared of names unlike earlier times. This is a happy dressing room,” Bengal skipper Tiwary said.
On the possible composition of the side, Tiwary hinted that one among Amit Kuila and Sayan Ghosh will have to make way for the fit again Pragyan Ojha.
“We all know Kotla is a slow wicket. We need to have two spinners. So Ojha and Gani will be playing. As far as pacers are concerned Amit is more of a hit the deck bowler who gets the ball to kick up from good length or short of length.
“On this pitch, I want someone who can reverse the ball well. Sayan Ghosh has a round arm action which helps in getting reverse swing. As of now, my choice of Dinda’ s partner is Sayan. Also if we need a third seamer, we have Mondal,” said Tiwary.
The Bengal skipper feels that a solid core has been prepared because of Sourav Ganguly’s Vision 2020 Project.
“We are reaping benefits for the process that has been put in. We have two talented young bowlers in Kuila and Ishan Porel. In fact it was Dada (Ganguly) who told me to check out Kuila and watch his progress.
“He felt this boy has potential. Also Mukesh Kumar and Ishan’ s injury paved the way for him. He will get better with better guidance,” said Tiwary.