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Bengal ready for a fight in Mustaq Ali
28th January 2017
Ahead of the Syed Mustaq Ali T20 Tournament, Bengal coach Sairaj Bahutule feels his side holds three aces that could well be the x-factor in the tournament. While he is satisfied with the preparations for the meet, he feels all the other three teams in the group are strong oppositions.
"Manoj Tiwary's leadership capabilities, Wriddhiman Saha's purple patch and the balance of young and experienced make Bengal a formidable side to beat. They are our three aces. Our preps have been excellent and we should do well the meet," Sairaj said.
Speaking about the side's preparations, skipper Manoj Tiwari said: " I was busy playing in Irani Trophy. But from what I heard the boys trained very hard and had a focussed regimn under Laxman Sir and Sekhar Sir. We hope to give a good show in the meet."
Bengal practiced for 20 days in a build up to thr meet, under the hawk eyes of VVS Laxman and T A Sekhar along with Sairaj. "The players have played a few league games and we had simulated match situations under Laxman sir's supervision. The preparations have been focussed and the boys showed great energy and form," he added.
Bengal had played one match against Orissa and two matches among themselves at Eden Gardens, Jadavpur University campus in Salt Lake and Sourav Ganguly's academy. In the matches that featured only players from Bengal special match situations were created and players were asked to execute in those simulated situations.
Bowling at the death, defending a definte number of runs in an over, achieveing a target in an over are situations that have been created regularly for the players to execute.
Asked to comment on the other sides, Sairaj said "Tripura and Orissa have played well this season. Assam is a great fielding unit. Jharkhand is also a compact side. In T20 you need to respect your opposition. The time is too short and margin of error too slim. The team that executes its plan to perfection will win, " he said.
Manoj echoed Laxman, but added: "As far as the balance of the side is concerned we have an edge. We have more experienced players in these situations and very talented youngsters."
Asked on the performance of the team this season, Sairaj said: "We have played well in 80 per cent of our matches. We showed good work ethics. We got beaten by technicality. Who knows what would have happened if that evening Tamil Nadu has not taken a lead or we had played the Gujarat match. So we are a confident side hoing into the tournament. We will not give in without a fight."
"This season we have been very consistent. A lot of players got runs. A lot of bowlers showed their mettle. We would have loved to qualify for the knock out stage of Ranji but we ran out of luck. This is a different format, require different skillset and mental makeup and I hope we will deliver," Manoj said. Bengal play the first match against Tripura on January 31, against Assam on Feb 1, Orissa on Feb 3 and Jharkhand on Feb 5.

Manoj Tiwary ©, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Abhishek Raman, Debabrata Das, Pramod Chandila, Pankaj Shaw, Writtick Chatterjee, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Pragyan Ojha, Aamir Gani, Ashoke Kr. Dinda, Sayan Ghosh, Kanishk Seth, Veer Pratap Singh.

Arindam Basu