Ranji Trophy: Upbeat Bengal meets formidable Baroda on red-ball return

As the red-ball tournament returns in a truncated form, last edition's runner-up Bengal takes heart from its limited-overs display as it faces Baroda in their Elite Group B opener from Thursday.

Published : Feb 16, 2022 19:34 IST , CUTTACK

The Abhimanyu Easwaran-led Bengal side presents a fine blend of youth and experience.
The Abhimanyu Easwaran-led Bengal side presents a fine blend of youth and experience.

The Abhimanyu Easwaran-led Bengal side presents a fine blend of youth and experience.

Despite time constraints owing to Covid induced uncertainties, last edition’s runner-up Bengal and Baroda have made the best possible preparations for their opening Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘B’ match at the spick and span Barabati Stadium on Thursday.

As the iconic red ball tournament returned in a truncated form, Bengal played some intra-squad matches. The Baroda players, who had featured in some inter-club three-day matches earlier, played against Odisha recently.

“I am not satisfied with our preparations because of the start and stop... Yet I think everybody is in the same boat,” said Bengal coach Arun Lal.


Bengal takes heart from its good showing in this season’s white-ball tournaments even though it did not get the desired finishes.

The Abhimanyu Easwaran-led side presents a fine blend of youth and experience. While players like Anustup Majumdar, Manoj Tiwary and Sudip Chatterjee provide years of expertise, youngsters like Kazi Junaid Saifi, Sudip Gharami and Under-19 World Cup player Abhishek Porel – who is all set to make his debut due to the unavailability of veteran wicketkeeper-batter Wriddhiman Saha – add freshness to the side.

All-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed provides the right balance to the side.


The pace bowling department, consisting of performers including Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar and Akash Deep, will try to make an impact on a pitch that may offer some assistance to the seamers.

Baroda will look to perform better in its third meeting with Bengal this season. “We played them in the Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Hazare (trophies). They have beaten us in both. Maybe we will be lucky a third time,” said Baroda coach Dav Whatmore.

The team will miss the services of batter Vishnu Solanki, who had a family bereavement, in the first match.


The Kedar Devdhar-captained Baroda, packed with several young players, has a few options in the pace department that includes proven customers Lukman Meriwala and Atit Sheth. The presence of all-rounders, such as Krunal Pandya and Abhimanyusingh Rajput, boosts the side besides left-arm spinner Bhargav Bhatt who brings in a lot of experience.

The teams (from):

Bengal: Abhimanyu Easwaran (captain), Manoj Tiwary, Sudip Chatterjee, Anustup Majumdar, Abhishek Raman, Sudip Gharami, Abhishek Das, Writtick Chatterjee, Ritwik Roy Chowdhury, Abhishek Porel (wk), Shahbaz Ahmed, Sayan Sekhar Mondal, Akash Deep, Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Kazi Junaid Saifi, Sakir Habib Gandhi (wk), Pradipta Pramanik, Geet Puri, Nilkantha Das, Karan Lal and Ravi Kumar.

Baroda: Kedar Devdhar (captain, wk), Bhargav Bhatt, Gurjinder Singh Maan, Jyotsnil Singh, Kartik Kakade, Parth Kohli, Lukman Meriwala, Akshay More, Krunal Pandya, Mitesh Patel (wk), Dhruv Patel, Babashafi Pathan, Pratyush Kumar, Abhimanyusingh Rajput, Ninad Rathva, Shashwat Rawat, Shivalik Sharma, Atit Sheth and Soyeb Sopariya.

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