Speedster Mohammed Shami’s versatility will be skipper Manoj Tiwary’s key weapon as Bengal takes on Services in a group D opening round encounter of the Ranji Trophy, here on Friday.

Shami has been released from the Indian T20 squad for the Australia series and would be Bengal’s key player on a placid Airforce ground track.

“Having Shami is a big plus for our side. Admitted it’s a track where 20 wickets can be difficult but a bowler of Shami’s ability gives you that confidence,” skipper Tiwary said on the eve of the match.

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Shami has had run-ins with injuries but will Tiwary preserve him considering Indian team needs him?

“I am the captain of Bengal team and if I need him to bowl 4 spells, he would have to bowl for the team,” Tiwary said.

“Ranji Trophy is serious cricket. We have heard for years that we have the potential to win but we must walk the talk this time.”

Bengal will also get the services of Test specialist Wriddhiman Saha and current India A left-hander Sudeep Chatterjee.

With Shreevats Goswami out on India A duty, Anushtup Majumdar will be drafted in for his loopy leg breaks.

The single spinner will be left-arm spinner Pradipta Pramanik.

The team management is yet to decide between left-arm seamer Kanishk Seth and right-arm slinger Sayan Ghosh.

The Services team will be lead by opener Nakul Verma and on paper it will start as the underdog.