Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Sudip Chatterjee to lead Bengal

Bengal will play four practice games against Himachal in Kolkata before departing for Assam.

Sudip Chatterjee

Sudip Chatterjee has been a sensational T20 batsman since his return to action this September after more than a year. The left-hander smashed six consecutive half-centuries and led the Barrackpore Bashers to victory in the hyperlocal Bengal T20 Challenge. He finished the tournament with 478 runs. (File Image)   -  Vijay Soneji

Veteran Bengal batsman Sudip Chatterjee will lead the side in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament starting November 4 in Guwahati.

Chatterjee has been a sensational T20 batsman since his return to action this September after more than a year. The left-hander smashed six consecutive half-centuries and led the Barrackpore Bashers to victory in the hyperlocal Bengal T20 Challenge. He finished the tournament with 478 runs. 

India international Wriddhiman Saha will keep wickets with youngster Shakir Habib Gandhi as the backup 'keeper. Shreevats Goswami has not found a berth in the 20-member squad.

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The younger players, who were part of the Indian Premier League (IPL), are expected to fare better this time around. Spin-bowling all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed, who had a couple of good games for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, will be one of the all-rounders. Ishan Porel, who played his first IPL game for Punjab Kings last month, will handle the fast bowling department with Mukesh Kumar and Akash Deep.

Chief coach Arun Lal justified Sudip's promotion. "We have made some progress in T20 cricket. We have been performing well. This year, our preparation has been good, and we are looking forward to it. Sudip has been terrific in the lead-up tournament. He is a tried and tested hero of Bengal cricket, and he has been around for 10 years; who better than him to lead the side," Lal told Sportstar on Monday.

Chatterjee said the team looked in good rhythm after the practice games against Andhra and Rajasthan in Vijayawada. "We had good preparation games in Vijayawada. We played as an unit. Next, Himachal is coming here for four practice games. These are important games to fine-tune our skills for the main tournament," he said.

He added that it was a blessing to have young Bengal players in the IPL. "They will return to domestic cricket with a lot of confidence. The fact that some of our players have spent time with Virat Kohli will be of great help. Saha's presence is a big boost to the side. His inputs will be handy."

Bengal will start its SMAT 2021-22 campaign against Chhattisgarh.

Squad: Sudip Chatterjee (c), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Abhisek Das, Kaif Ahmad, Ritwik Roy Chowdhury, Ranjot Singh Khaira, Shakir Habib Gandhi, Suvankar Bal, Karan Lal, Shahbaz Ahmad, Writtick Chatterjee, Pradipta Pramanik, Sujit Kr Yadav, Ishan Porel, Mukesh Kumar, Akash Deep, Alok Pratap Singh, Md Kaif, Sayan Ghosh

Chief coach: Arun Lal

Coach: Sourashish Lahiri

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