Kolkata: Such has been the plight of Bengal in Indian cricket that despite having top names, most of its players often find themselves distanced away from the action in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Moving away from days when many players from the state would make it to the playing XI of most IPL franchises, the number has greatly declined to a staggering six in 2018. Wriddhiman Saha and Sreevats Goswami (SRH), Mohammad Shami and Sayan Ghosh (DD), Manoj Tiwary (KXIP) and Kanishk Seth (CSK) remain the only Bengal players who would be representing a team when the IPL kicks off on April 7.
The rest have lost their way, most of them going unsold and former Bengal cricketer Arun Lal, member of the last Ranji Trophy winning Bengal team (1989-90) feels the state’s players need to start performing and be doing that constantly, if they are to get back in the reckoning once again.
“….They have to start performing. People earlier would complain that the country discriminates against Bengal, that it was poor selection. But things have changed. Now the market is open for you to perform. A good cricketer will always find teams to play for,” said Lal on the sidelines of the IPL trophy unveiling, here on Thursday.
But what has been Bengal’s loss has been someone else’s gain and as the right-hander said, “you don’t take your chances, someone else will,” teams like Vidarbha and Punjab have spurred up the chance.
Take Kolkata Knight Riders for instance. Of the 26 players the two-time champions had in 2008, eight were from Bengal. But the number now stands at nil and instead Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have four and two players in the current squad respectively.
Moreover despite Bengal performing in the Ranji Trophy, the shambolic innings and 26 run defeat to Delhi in the semis and their poor outing in the Vijay Hazare trophy remained a major concern for Lal.
“They have to perform regularly and every time they get an opportunity. No can give them an IPL contract until they perform. Their is huge competition but with it are big rewards too,” added the former Indian international.
Smith and Warner should never again captain a team
Given how the sandpapergate incident has traumatized world cricket and Australia in particular, it would be better if both Steve Smith and David Warner are never chosen as captain of any team ever again in their careers said fomer Indian cricketer Arun Lal.
“When you are a captain you are the ambassador of the entire nation, your represent the people and both Smith and Warner have brought Australia into disrepute. These two must never again captain any team, never in their life-time,” said the former Indian cricketer.
“It is reprehensible and unpardonable. Yes, they cannot be punished for their entire life but such steps to win a game should never be taken again,” he added.