Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Bengal to explore IPL market for new coach; Relief to Arun Lal

The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is looking to tap the IPL market to appoint a new coach for the Bengal senior team for the next season, as incumbent Arun Lal is set to be relieved of his duties. It is learned that the CAB is contemplating a change this time after Bengal’s defeat to Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy semi-final.

Bengal played the final of the Ranji Trophy in 2019-20 under Lal’s charge and this season, they qualified for the semi-finals on the heels of a world record batting performance against Jharkhand, where nine batsmen scored half-centuries in an innings. However, the team’s batting, Manoj Tiwary and Shahbaz Ahmed had a blast against MP in the first innings to save centuries. The Bengal cricket fraternity has respect for the 66-year-old Lal, but there is also a feeling that the team needs a new direction under a young coach.

    Arun Lalu The Bengal players are second from the left with coach Arun Lal. (Twitter/Cab Cricket)

According to a CAB insider, the state association was keen to appoint Wasim Jaffer and calls were made to the former Mumbai and India opener. But Jaffer has already taken charge of Bangladesh U-19 team and will not be available. Former Bengal and India all-rounder Lakshmi Ratan Shukla, who coached the Bengal U-23 team, is under consideration but is not the first choice at the moment.

“The idea is to hire a coach who will develop our players to the next level, so that they can knock on the doors of the Indian team. It should be a continuous process. Of course, winning the Ranji Trophy is important, but it is also very important,” a CAB official told The Indian Express. The CAB wants a coach who is also in charge of the team’s batting. “If a coach can see the batting of the team, then we will not need to appoint a separate batting coach,” the official said.

There is no restriction on coaching a state team and being a part of the coaching set-up of an IPL franchise. While being part of the coaching set-up of Rajasthan Royals, Sairaj Bahutule and Amol Majumdar have coached Gujarat and Mumbai respectively. His contract with the respective state associations gave him two months to be a part of the T20 league. CAB is thinking along the same lines, though no shortlist has been made yet.

Chandrakant Pandit Chandrakant Pandit coached Vidarbha to their maiden Ranji title. (BCCI photo)

tribute to pandit ji

Sources said the Bengal cricket hierarchy admires Chandrakant Pandit’s work in the domestic circuit. The former Mumbai and India wicketkeeper-batsman, after presiding over Vidarbha’s back-to-back titles, has guided MP to the finals of the Ranji Trophy, this time around. But there is a fear that Pundit’s management style is a bit outdated – he prefers a tough-love approach – and may not be suitable for larger teams. In high-profile dressing rooms, man management becomes the dominant factor.

It turns out that if someone like Andy Flower becomes available, CAB is not averse to posting abroad. However, for the time being, this is just a back-up plan and a bit far-fetched.

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