Ranji Trophy: Bengal not intimidated by big teams, says Manoj Tiwary

While the Bengal camp respects Karnataka, it is not intimidated, says senior batsman Manoj Tiwary ahead of the Ranji Trophy semifinal clash.

Manoj Tiwary feels Bengal and Karnataka are evenly-matched.   -  FILE PHOTO/ RAJEEV BHATT

Manoj Tiwary, who has been playing for Bengal for more than 15 years and led it for four seasons, knows the reason behind the side’s turnaround in attitude and approach this season.

As Bengal pipped Odisha in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals at the DRIEMS ground here to make it to the last four after 2017-18, Tiwary said his team did not fear any opposition.

“This team is not intimidated by big teams now. There’s always positive talk in the dressing room. We respect Karnataka (the opponent for semifinals), but we are no less than them.

“We have to plan well. We thought of trying something today on the ground but that didn’t happen. We have a good opportunity to achieve our dream this time. If we beat Karnataka, then I think the momentum will take us to the title,” Tiwary, who played for Bengal in two finals in 2005-06 and 2006-07, said on Monday.

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According to the 34-year-old, coach Arun Lal is the driving force behind making Bengal a cohesive unit.

“As a team we are a bit sentimental, but Lal sir is very upright and speaks from the heart. He keeps everyone under pressure. That keeps everybody on his toes.

“We are bonding well and having team dinner together at a particular time every night.”

Even while missing Ashoke Dinda, Tiwary said the presence of some players made a difference. “The comeback of Arnab (Nandi), the inclusion of Akash (Deep), Mukesh (Kumar) and (Ishan) Porel getting experience are some of the important factors. Someone or the other is contributing in crunch situations.

“Two spinners (Shahbaz Ahmed and Nandi) can bat as well. It helps in the team combination, although we are missing out on a fast bowling all-rounder.”

Tiwary, who is assisting captain Abhimanyu Easwaran on the field, said a pool of players was ready to serve the team.

“Agniv Pan, Kazi Junaid Saifi, Sudip Gharami are some of the players who are for the future. I am sure spinners Pradipta Pramanik and Amir Gani will return to the side. I am confident trophies will come to Bengal,” he said.

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