Ashoke Dinda, 33, has mellowed over the years. He is happy to be have his first child, a daughter, recently and is enjoying his role as a guide to the pack of young Bengal pacers.
Dinda, who tops the list of faster bowlers in the current Ranji Trophy with 33 scalps, has made a significant contribution in Bengal's progress to the semifinals.
His maturity has boosted Dinda's performance. “In the last five years, I've been trying to keep it up and generate swing. Earlier it was back of the length, so the batsmen would always be on the back foot. Now I bowl fuller looking to get out-swing. That's why there is a difference,” said Dinda.
“I have worked hard (to bring this change). My coach Atal Dev Burman said if you want to take wickets, you have to bowl fuller. Slowly I started learning. All the Bengal coaches, including Paras Mhambrey and W.V. Raman, have helped me.
“In the last five-six years, I've got more than 30 wickets every season. In the past I bowled with a lot of enthusiasm, now I apply my mind as well,” said Dinda.
For Dinda, his passion for cricket is everything. “When I cross the ropes, I become a different person. When the ball is in my hand, I feel I'm the best...when it is my day I can just swallow everybody.
“In the last 14 matches, I've got eight five-wicket hauls. I'm not thinking why am I not getting selected in the Test team. It's not in my hands.”
Dinda enjoys his partnership withMohammad Shami. “Whenever Shami plays for Bengal, my workload becomes less as we share wickets.”
Dinda, who has captured 386 wickets in 105 first class matches and donned India colours in 13 one-day internationals and nine T20 matches, said he enjoyed mentoring young pacers. “I tell them how to bowl in different situations, how to bowl together, what lines and lengths to bowl to each batsman, how to hold the ball when it is reversing. I try to pass on whatever I know.”
Bengal skipper Manoj Tiwary acknowledges Dinda's contribution. “Dinda is a warrior any captain would like to have. He has matured a lot and bowls consistently in right areas. He shares his experience and helps young bowlers.”
If Bengal achieves its target of winning the Ranji Trophy, it will be a fitting reward for Dinda.
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