‘Win toss, bowl first’ – Bengal’s 1990 Ranji Trophy heroes inform Manoj Tiwary’s males

Thirty-three years in the past, on a March morning, Bengal created historical past by clinching the Ranji Trophy for the primary time since independence.

Thereafter, the facet managed to succeed in the ultimate 4 occasions – in 1993-1994, 2005-2006, 2006-2007, and 2019-2020. But, the title remained elusive.

However, underneath the management of Manoj Tiwary, Bengal as soon as once more has an opportunity to make it to the historical past books by ending the title drought when it takes on Saurashtra in yet one more summit conflict on the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.

For the primary time since that iconic win in 1991, underneath the captaincy of Sambaran Banerjee, Eden Gardens will host the ultimate of the premier home match, and far earlier than the ball will get rolling, the cricket followers and the previous cricketers of Bengal are on an emotional roller-coaster.

While your complete group of 1991 – barring Sourav Ganguly, who’s presently within the United Kingdom – might be current on the stadium to cheer for Tiwary and his males, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has opened just a few stands for the spectators. Banerjee, the state’s solely Ranji Trophy-winning captain since independence, may also ring the bell to start the match.

Bengal medium pacer Dattareya Mukherjee in Glee having knocked down the leg stump of Delhi opener Mannu Nayyar in the very first over of the Ranji Trophy final at the Eden Gardens on March 23, 1990.

Bengal medium pacer Dattareya Mukherjee in Glee having knocked down the leg stump of Delhi opener Mannu Nayyar within the very first over of the Ranji Trophy closing on the Eden Gardens on March 23, 1990.
| Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Memories preserve flowing in, however Banerjee believes that on an Eden Gardens floor, which might assist the seamers initially, profitable the toss would be the key. “Toss will be very important. The side which wins the toss, should bowl first and make the most of the conditions. The game starts at 9 am, so the bowlers will have a lot to gain from that first session,” Banerjee tells  Sportstar.

Having recognized the present gamers since their childhood, Banerjee believes that the group is well-balanced and there’s an ideal mixture of youth and expertise – an element that might turn out to be useful in opposition to a slightly robust Saurashtra facet, which might be led by Jaydev Unadkat.

“Saurashtra is a strong side, but they played their games in Rajkot, where the surface offered lower bounce. But at the Eden Gardens, the conditions will favour the bowlers and this Bengal side has the right balance and I just hope that they don’t get distracted,” Banerjee, an erstwhile nationwide selector, says.

While it will likely be a chance for Tiwary’s brigade to chase glory, Banerjee and his teammates from the batch of 1989-1990 may also be watching the proceedings from the particular VIP field allotted to them.

Arun Lal, additionally a member of the 1990 group, was the coach of Bengal when it reached the ultimate three years in the past, earlier than dropping to the identical group – Saurashtra. A former India batter, Lal believes that this Bengal group has sufficient armour in its arsenal to go previous Saurashtra.

“I have been saying this for the last few years that this Bengal team is among the top-five teams in the country in every format. Results are obviously not in one’s hands otherwise every team would be winning every day. We have played really good cricket and we are playing the knockouts for the third consecutive year. It’s time to win it,” Lal stated.

“Earlier, we lost very crucial tosses, which made a 20-25 per cent impact on the game. I was very critical of the Rajkot wicket last time, and even when we played the semifinal against Madhya Pradesh last time, I thought winning the toss should not be so crucial. If you win the toss and want to bat first, there should be a bit of moisture in it for you to handle it till lunch and you could lose wickets if you are not careful… but if the wicket starts deteriorating from Day 2, Day 3, then winning the toss becomes crucial,” Lal explains.

When Lal took cost just a few overs in the past, chips have been down. Bengal struggled. But through the years, the group slowly bounced again and emerged as one of many title contenders. One of the most important focuses that Lal and his assist employees did, was to make sure that Bengal produced a high quality quick bowling assault and after laborious work, outcomes paid off. “Aakash Deep is now kind of spearheading the bowling attack, which also has Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar. That’s by far the best bowling attack in the country,” he says.

Delhi fielders rush to felicitate medium pacer Manoj Prabhakar (facing Camera) after he had Bengal debutant Saurav Ganguly caught behind on the Third day of the Ranji Trophy final at the Eden Garden on March 26, 1990.

Delhi fielders rush to felicitate medium pacer Manoj Prabhakar (going through Camera) after he had Bengal debutant Saurav Ganguly caught behind on the Third day of the Ranji Trophy closing on the Eden Garden on March 26, 1990.
| Photo Credit: THE HINDU ARCHIVES

Though Saurashtra clinched the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season, Lal nonetheless retains Bengal forward within the closing. “It’s our game to lose. If we play according to our potential, we don’t need to get our extra A game to the park. If we play normally, we should win. We have got Sudip Gharami in great touch, Anustup Majumdar is in form and also importantly, Abhimanyu Easwaran is in form. At the top, if you get runs, things should be fine…”

Lal’s team-mate from the 1990 facet, Saradindu Mukherjee, nonetheless, believes that taking part in every session to its advantage is the important thing. “You play by the session. In a five-day game, you have 15 sessions and one bad session can turn things against or in favour of you. You have to concentrate and try to dominate every session,” Mukherjee, a former India spinner, says.

“I am told there will be grass on the surface and rightly so because Bengal’s pace-bowling attack is really strong with Mukesh, Aakash Deep and Ishan Porel. I think they would go for one spinner in Pradipta Pramanik and if they win the toss, they should field and take the advantage of the first hour and a half of the wind blowing over from the Ganges. There will be a bit of moisture,” Mukherjee provides.

Saurashtra bats deep down the order and realizing the Eden Gardens wicket just like the again of his palm, Mukherjee believes {that a} 250 to 300 might be a ‘good score’ on this observe. “Anything between 250-300 will be a fighting total. From what I heard from the players, curators and of course, in the media, my understanding is, this might not be a 400-run wicket,” Banerjee says, anticipating a end result. “It won’t be a draw. Either way, someone is going to win this one…”

In that historic closing of 1990, Bengal defeated a star-studded Delhi and the sport additionally marked the debut of Sourav Ganguly, who later went on to develop into a legend of the sport. And even after that closing, Ganguly himself featured in just a few summit clashes however failed to interrupt the jinx and talking on the Sportstar East Sports Conclave not too long ago, the previous India captain stated that expectantly, Bengal can finish the trophy drought.

“They need a bit of luck. I was fortunate enough to make it to the squad in 1989-90 and be part of the winning team. After that, we have got into a few finals and even three years ago, the team played a final and lost to Saurashtra in Rajkot,” Ganguly had stated, earlier than including in jest, “They have too much of Sourav Ganguly influence, who played three World Cup (ICC tournaments – in 2000, 2002, 2003) finals and lost all three. Jokes apart, someday they can get past…”

And when Team Bengal walks into the Eden Gardens amid cheers and fanfare, they’d be hoping to show issues round. With Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Tiwary on the helm, Bengal has performed fearless cricket all through. Time to maintain the momentum going for one ‘final’ time!

Source web site: sportstar.thehindu.com

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