Bengal to have edge over Assam

Kolkata: After taking on strong contenders Delhi and Mumbai from Group A of the Elite group, Bengal start with an edge as they meet Assam in their next fixture at Eden Gardens here on Wednesday.

Bengal snatched three points from Delhi and had to remain contended with one point in their next tie against champions Mumbai. Assam, on the other hand, conceded five points losing their opening encounter against Tamil Nadu but produced a better show against Railways to earn three points.

“Assam is a good side. But our aim is to get as many points from this match and we will go all out for an outright victory,” Bengal coach W V Raman said.

Bengal team management hinted that they would prefer to field the same team which played against Mumbai.

But the availability of dependable medium pacer Ashok Dinda is under question as he is down with fever. In case Dinda, who opens the hosts` attack along with Ranadev Bose, remains unfit Wednesday, then, in all probability, Md. Sami will replace him to make his debut in the Ranji league.

Bengal will also depend a lot on offy Sourashish Lahiri, left arm spinner Shiv Sagar Singh and Laxmi Ratan Shukla in the bowling department.

Bengal has a good batting line up in openers Srivatsa Goswami and Arindam Das and skipper Manoj Tiwari. These apart, the hosts also have Wriddhiman Saha, Writam Porel and allrounder Shukla to add to their batting strength.

Tiwari said the match against Mumbai where they could get only one point, was a matter of the past. “We have to look forward and try to get maximum points from this match.”

Led by former Mumbai skipper Amol Muzumdar, Assam who got promoted from Plate group to Elite this season, were likely to pose a strong challenge to Bengal.

Besides S Sriram and Dhiraj Jadhav, imports from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively, the north eastern state also have dependable opening batsmen in Dhiraj Yadhav and Pervez Aziz.

Dhiraj Goswami, who opens Assam bowling attack, is in fine form. The visitors also have a fine off-spinner in Arlene Kanwar.

Assam captain Amol Muzumdar expressed cautious optimism about the tie.

“Bengal is a very good side. But we will try our best to maintain the momentum we have earned against the Railways in our last match in Delhi.”