'Stay away from social media and cut long hairs' - Shukla's mantra as U-23 Bengal coach

Former Bengal captain and sports minister Lakshmi Ratan Shukla quit politics before the 2021 Assembly Polls to "concentrate more on cricket".

File Photo: Shukla, who played three ODIs for India, said his job was to ensure that more Bengal players make it to the national team.   -  The Hindu

Former Bengal captain and sports minister Laxmi Ratan Shukla began a new innings as under-23 coach with a fitness camp on Monday and put in place some strict rules for his wards that included "staying away from social media and cutting long hairs".

A domestic cricket stalwart for Bengal, Shukla quit politics before the last Assembly Polls to "concentrate more on cricket" as he returned as Bengal U-23 coach.

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"I have told the boys not to post anything on social media. They have to maintain decorum and discipline," the 40-year-old said after taking charge.

The fitness camp, which lasted for over four hours, had 60 cricketers, who were divided into groups and came in batches for their training.

"Those with long hair will need to pay a visit to the saloons immediately. Thirdly they will have to learn Bengali for team bonding," Shukla said.

Chairman of senior selectors Subhomoy Das also visited the camp.

Shukla emphasized on the emergence of more cricketers from the districts of Bengal, irrespective of boys and girls and said that the “supply line from junior to senior team” was very important.

Shukla, who played three ODIs for India, said his job was to ensure that more Bengal players make it to the national team.

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"I am not a coach, I am a guide who is here to help the players. To see more Bengal players in the national team is a wish I have as a cricketer," he said.

Bowling coach Shib Shankar Paul and strength and conditioning coach Sabir Ali also made sure that everything went smoothly.

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