Ganguly at helm as Bengal face stiff test from Haryana

Rohtak: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly`s leadership skills will be put to test as a jittery Bengal side take on hosts Haryana in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group match on a challenging Bansi Lal Cricket Stadium in Rohtak on Monday.

Statistically there is not much to choose between Haryana and Bengal with former on five points is a notch above the visitors who have four in their kitty.

But there will certainly be difference in their mindset of Bengal and Haryana players. While the hosts managed a creditable three points against Baroda in an away game, on a seaming track at Moti Baug ground, Bengal couldn`t even manage three points against Madhya Pradesh after scoring 494.

With Manoj Tiwary on national duty and his deputy Wriddhiman Saha being reluctant to lead the side before tour Down Under, the responsibility came to Ganguly who will certainly have to get the best out of his bowlers who have looked pedestrian in the national championship so far.

Ganguly hadn`t led Bengal for a long time. Even when he was the India captain and sporadically played domestic cricket, he let the Rohan Gavaskars and Deep Dasguptas lead the side.

The team will have three changes in the XI with left-handed opening batsman Rohan Banerjee coming in place Partha Sarathi Bhattacharjee while talented Abhishek Jhunjhunwala is likely to replace Arindam Ghosh as the No 3.

Manoj`s place will be taken by Writam Porel. The bowling attack will remain same as Mohammed Shami Ahmed will lead the attack backed by veteran Ranadeb Bose and the inconsistent Ashok Dinda. With Bose`s selection coming under scanner, the Haryana match may prove to be a do-or-die affair for the lanky paceman.

The track at Lahli has been known to assist seamers as Haryana will again go with a four-pronged attack consisting of Jitender Billa, Ashish Hooda, India colts seamer Harshal Patel and all-rounder Sachin Rana. India discard Amit Mishra will lead the spin attack that will also consist of T20 specialist Yuzvendra Chahal.

The Haryana batting has one of the more consistent opening pairs in domestic circuit in Nitin Saini and Rahul Dewan followed by Sunny Singh who has a reputation of scoring big in domestic circuit. Virender Sehwag`s nephew Priyank Tehlan who scored heaps of runs in U-22 circuit for Delhi is another player to watch out for.

PTI

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