Anustup replaces Easwaran as Bengal captain for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Under Easwaran’s captaincy, Bengal reached the final of the Ranji Trophy in March, but went down to Saurashtra in the summit clash.

Bengal's Abhimanyu Easwaran plays a shot during a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match in February, 2019.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Ahead of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) removed Abhimanyu Easwaran as the captain of the Bengal team and handed over the responsibility to seasoned Anustup Majumdar.

Shreevats Goswami has been named the vice-captain as Bengal plays all its matches in Kolkata, starting from January 10.

Under Easwaran’s captaincy, Bengal reached the final of the Ranji Trophy in March, but went down to Saurashtra in the summit clash. While the team enjoyed success, Easwaran’s batting performance dipped.

Read: Bengal announces 22-member squad for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy  

The CAB president Avishek Dalmiya and secretary Snehasish Ganguly on Thursday spoke to Majumdar, Goswami and Easwaran and made them aware that the decision taken was only for the length of the tournament in question. “The selectors felt that without the burden of captaincy over his head Abhimanyu would be able to play more freely and deliver up to his potential,” the association said in a statement.

The 36-year-old Majumdar had a stellar Ranji Trophy season, where he hammered consecutive centuries in the quarterfinals and semifinals. It was largely because of his feats that Bengal made it to the final.

Bengal conducted a long camp under the watchful eyes of former India international, VVS Laxman recently, and after the camp, Laxman had even stated that the pressure of captaincy won’t affect his batting.

Also read: Ahead of domestic season kickoff, Laxman asks players to follow protocols in bio-bubble  

“I don’t think captaincy will affect Abhimanyu’s performance at all. I believe additional responsibility is much better,” Laxman told CAB Media. “That’s what he has been doing for Bengal for so many years, he’s been a prolific run-getter. He performed not only for Bengal but also in the opportunities he got for India A he has done exceedingly well.”

But the team management thought otherwise. A seasoned campaigner, Easwaran had replaced Manoj Tiwary as skipper ahead of the 2019-20 season.

The squad:  Anustup Majumdar (captain), Shreevats Goswami (vice-captain), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Manoj Tiwary, Sudip Chatterjee, Ishan Porel, Ritwik Roy Chowdhury, Vivek Singh, Shahbaz Ahamad, Arnab Nandi, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Abhisek Das, Mohammad Kaif, Aritra Chatterjee, Suvankar Bal, Writtick Chatterjee, Prayas Ray Barman, Kaif Ahmed, Ravi Kant Singh.

Stand-by: Kazi Junaid Saifi, Sujit Yadav.