Bengal focusing on team effort

Calcutta: A new season always brings in fresh hope and expectations accompanied by the challenges that come along the way.

For Bengal, who open their Ranji Trophy campaign against defending champions Rajasthan at the Eden on Friday, this season will not only be about showcasing individual brilliance but also about performing as a unit. Poor team performance has been Bengal's bane in the last couple of seasons and if they can perform to their potential, the current crop have it in them to progress in the knockout phase.

In Woorkeri Raman's words, this is the "team for the future". The coach's words cannot be shrugged off since he knows what it takes to build a team and groom youngsters. Bengal isn't shorn of riches when it comes to individual performances.

If captain Manoj Tiwary and Ashok Dinda have been in the reckoning for a Test berth, Wriddhiman Saha hasn't disappointed in the limited opportunities. There's also Anustup Majumdar, who has been on the A tour to New Zealand, and Iresh Saxena, who did exceptionally well in East Zone's Duleep Trophy triumph.

Not to forget Mohammed Shami Ahmed, who has been sidelined because of an injury, and Laxmi Ratan Shukla. Ironically, team work has been the secret of Rajasthan's triumph over the last two seasons. "Our X-factor has been the team work… We hope to continue in the same vein," said captain Hrishikesh Kanitkar.

Injuries to their openers, though, have kept the Bengal thinktank worried. Parthasarathi Bhattacharjee has been ruled out with a hairline fracture on his right middle finger, suffered during practice on Thursday. He will be sidelined for two weeks.

Rohan Banerjee, the other first-choice opener, also suffered an injury and is doubtful. If Rohan is also ruled out, Subhamoy Das and Jayojit Basu will open the innings.

The trio of Tiwary, Wriddhiman and Dinda arrived in the city late on Thursday after fulfilling their commitments in the India A-England practice match in Mumbai.

"Since Manoj and Dinda have been performing so well, they will be eager to show their class ahead of the team selection for the first Test on Monday," hoped Raman.

National selector (East Zone) Syed Saba Karim will be present at the Eden and should be enough motivation for the players to perform.

Living up to the expectations will be Rajasthan's biggest task. Aakash Chopra has left for Himachal Pradesh, but the likes of Robin Bist and Vineet Saxena ' the top-two run-scorers in the Ranji Trophy last season with 1034 and 897, respectively ' will be keen to continue with their run scoring spree.

In keeping with the technical committee's recommendations, the wicket has a fair sprinkling of grass. Curator Prabir Mukherjee is hopeful of the wicket producing appreciable bounce but the grass is likely to encourage Rajasthan to include three seamers in their line-up.

Pankaj Singh, their most successful medium pacer last season with 34 wickets, is likely to be assisted by Rituraj Singh. They will, however, miss Sumit Mathur.

Bengal are still undecided on including a third seamer. Sourav Sarkar is set to partner Dinda, but whether Veer Pratap Singh gets a chance remains to be seen. If the youngster isn't included, Arnab Nandy will partner Iresh.

TEAMS

Bengal (likely): Jayojit Basu, Rohan Banerjee/ Subhamoy Das, Manoj Tiwary, Writam Porel, Anustup Majumdar, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Wriddhiman Saha, Iresh Saxena, Ashok Dinda, Sourav Sarkar, Veer Pratap Singh/ Arnab Nandy.

Rajasthan (from): Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Gajendra Singh, Robin Bist, Aniket Choudhary, Vaibhav Deshpande, Madhur Khatri, Ankit Lamba, Manjeet Singh, Ashok Menaria, Pankaj Singh, Rashmi Ranjan Parida, Puneet Yadav, Vineet Saxena, Rituraj Singh, Dishant Yagnik.

Umpires: K. Hariharan, Nikhil Patwardhan. TV: K. Anantapadmanavan.

Match Referee: B. Kalyan Sundaraman.

Match starts: 9 am.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to wait lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

On the BCCI's prohibitive media guidelines

On the BCCI's prohibitive media guidelines

An obsession with controlling information manifests itself in many ways. More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »