Bengal's team management is keen on fast-tracking U-19 India pacer Ravi Kumar in the upcoming Ranji Trophy where the team starts its campaign from February 16 in Cuttack.
It is understood that veteran keeper-batter Wriddhiman Saha will be available for at least the opening game if not the first two of the Ranji Trophy before he joins the Indian team's bio-bubble in Mohali for the first Test against Sri Lanka, tentatively scheduled for March 4.
Bengal has been clubbed alongside Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Baroda in Elite Group B and the team will leave for Cuttack on February 10 along with two U-19 World Cup players -- Ravi and left-handed batter-keeper Abhishek Porel.
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In fact, former India opener and current Bengal U-19 head coach Devang Gandhi welcomed the idea of including Ravi in the senior squad.
"Nothing gives any coach more satisfaction than seeing their wards make it to the elite level. That's what as coaches we aspire for -- to guide the talented boys in rght direction.
"No one would be more happier than me if both Ravi and Abhishek Porel, (who is also in the West Indies as stand-by) make it to Ranji squad," Devang told PTI , having already guided the junior team to the Cooch Behar Trophy quarterfinals.
While the BCCI is yet to announce the dates of the U-19 national quarters, Gandhi is of the opinion that as much he would love to have them in the junior team, the aim is to see them gear up for tougher challenges ahead.
"I would love to have them in the quarterfinals, as and when they are held. But for their own growth and betterment, they should quickly progress to the next level. For Ravi I can say, that he is a very hard working boy and in years, you will see him add a few yards of pace with his natural ability to swing it back in," Devang said.
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While talking to sources close to the senior team management, one got the feeling that both Ravi and Porel will make it to the main squad if not the playing XI.
Being a left-arm seamer and getting the ball to dart in helps Ravi to add variety to any bowling attack.
"Yes, there is a bright possibility that Ravi, after his performances in the ICC U-19 World Cup, will be included in the Bengal senior team. We need to groom them and catch them young.
"With BCCI not scheduling any U-25 tourney (Bengal A) as of now, Ravi needs to be nurtured with care. Obviously, it's a selector's call but both head coach Arun Lal and coach Saurasish Lahiri are keeping a close watch on Ravi.
"Even if he doesn't make it to first XI in presence of Akash Deep, Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar, who knows there could be a chance just round the corner," a source close to Bengal team management said.
In the case of Abhishek Porel, he has a better chance of making his debut as wicketkeeper and many believe that he has the game to play as a pure batter.
"Abhishek would have made his debut had the Sri Lanka Tests not been pushed back to March. But now, we are expecting Wriddhi to be available for the first game and may be also the second game," he said.
The Indian selectors want all the Test specialists to play at least two rounds of Ranji Trophy before reporting to the national team bubble.
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