Arun Lal: I am not a headmaster, I am here to help

The newly appointed mentor of the Bengal team, Arun Lal, feels there is enough potential in the squad, but the ‘spirit needs to be revived’.

Arun Lal will return to Kolkata on Friday and will join the team a day later.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

The last time Bengal won a Ranji Trophy title in 1990, Arun Lal was one of the key members of the side. And now, 28 years later, Lal is back with the Bengal team — this time as the mentor for the Ranji Trophy.

Presently holidaying in Italy, the 63-year-old former India cricketer sounded excited at the prospect of his new role. “It is a great honour where I can contribute to Bengal cricket in a meaningful way and I am pretty happy with the process,” Lal said.

READ| Arun Lal becomes Bengal mentor

“I just hope we can put it all together as a team,” Lal, who is also a noted television commentator, said.

While Sairaj Bahutule, who took up the job in 2015, will serve as the coach in the first two Ranji Trophy matches, Lal’s job will be to look after the overall development. “My job is to try and help the boys. I am not a headmaster, I am there to help the team,” Lal said.

Questions were asked about the quality of a few players following Bengal's disappointing performance in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. But Lal believes that there is enough potential in the team, but the ‘spirit needs to be revived’.

"When you don’t do well, you tend to get under pressure. To relieve pressure and understand the need (of bouncing back is important). There is only one goal and that is to win the Ranji Trophy."

The former cricketer will return to Kolkata on Friday and will join the team a day later. “You have to believe in yourself. There is not much else to do because all of them are competent cricketers. The team, the support staff the coaches, the captain — all need to be together and have a common goal and ensure that we don’t forget the goal,” Lal said. “It is not about self, but about the team. Once that’s clear in the mind, you know what to do.”

Lal struck an unbeaten half-century in the Ranji final in 1990 as Bengal ended a 51-year wait for the title, and he is confident that the team can do well this time too.

A keen observer of the game, Lal was approached by former India captain and CAB chief, Sourav Ganguly, and he happily obliged. "Sourav rang me up and asked if I could help the team and I said, it would be an honour."