Bengal team will be aiming for an improved performance against Irfan Pathan led Baroda in a group A Ranji Trophy encounter in what will be the 400th first-class match for the senior state team since its inception. “It’s a momentous occasion and I feel honoured to be leading the Bengal side in our 400th first class game. The boys know it and are ready to make it memorable for the team. Bengal team has its own place in national cricket and from late Pankaj Roy to Sourav Ganguly, everybody has had immense contribution. This team wants to follow their footsteps,” Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary said on Sunday.
The Lahli strip as usual has a thick grass cover but the skipper assured that there won’t be a lot of bounce but more lateral movement. “We are going with an extra batsman in Pankaj Shaw, who will replace Aamir Gani in the playing XI. What I feel is that there won’t be steep bounce but at this time with the grass cover, expect movement in the air and off the pitch. That’s the reason we thought of having an extra batsman as a cushion. Toss will be crucial as there is a chance that pitch will remain damp,” Tiwary explained.
Bengal got a point from the last game against Tamil Nadu and the skipper wants to look ahead.
“The last Tamil Nadu pair got a bit lucky as some of the thick edges flew above the slip cordon. Lofted shots landed just a few metres ahead of the fielders. But having said that, we should have batted better. Our young duo of fast bowlers (Amit Kuila and Sayan Ghosh) have a lot of potential,” the skipper expressed hope.
With a lot of young boys in the team, Bengal who are on 16 points at the halfway stage are now reaching the important phase of the tournament. Asked as to what he tells the youngsters during this phase, Tiwary said:”I don’t tell them about a game being do-or-die. This is a different dressing room where the youngsters are not allowed to carry the extra baggage of pressure. I tell them everytime that treat it as another match. Don’t let expectations bog you down,” he concluded.