Ranji Trophy 2013-14: Confident Rajasthan welcome Bengal on a seam-friendly track
Jaipur: It will be a battle of pacers as two-time Ranji Trophy champions Rajasthan led by old warhorse Hrishikesh Kanitkar take on a Laxmi Ratan Shukla`s gritty Bengal side in a group B encounter of the Ranji Trophy at a seamer-friendly Sawai Man Singh Stadium here on Thursday.
Rajasthan suffered an innings defeat in an away game against Saurashtra in their opening encounter.
On the other hand, Bengal were unlucky as their match against Baroda was abandoned without a ball being bowled with groundsmen failing to prepare the Eden Gardens in time despite bright sunshine during four days of the match after heavy downpour before that.
During this time of the year, the Jaipur track proves conducive for seam bowling as Rajasthan have seasoned Pankaj Singh who knows the art of picking wickets at the domestic level. He will have the burly left-arm seamer Aniket Chaudhary and young Rituraj Singh for company.
However the track could suit the visitors as well with India discard Ashoke Dinda along with veteran Shib Shankar Paul will like to extract any juice available from track in case Shukla wins the toss and decides to field.
Swing bowler Manojit Ghosh is likely make his first-class debut pipping another veteran bowler Sourav Sarkar as the third seamer.
Manojit and Shib Shankar are likely to be preferred alongside Dinda as both impressed during team`s pre-season tour of Haryana.
The only spinner in the side will be off-spinner all-rounder Sourashis Lahiri who is more than a capable batsman with first-class century to his credit.
"Since the pitch has a bit of grass, we feel that Sourashis` batting ability will come in handy as there is little that a left-arm spinner (Iresh Saxena) can do on such a track," a member of the Bengal team management said.
The batting order is almost set with Rohan Banerjee and Arindam Das opening the innings. Anustup Majumdar will be coming in at No 3 while Wriddhiman Saha will be the next man in. Young Sandipan Das will take the No 5 slot followed by another senior Subhamoy Das and skipper Shukla at seven.
For Rajasthan, the onus will be on their batsmen who performed miserably in the first innings against Saurashtra on a batting friendly Rajkot track. In the second innings, save Vineet Saxena and Rajesh Bishnoi who scored a century, none of the others were able to convert their 20`s and 30`s.
The likes of Kanitkar, Ashok Menaria, Robin Bist and IPL specialist Dishant Yagnik will have to perform far better with the willow as the Bengal attack led by Dinda can pose a few problems for the hosts.