Recently-appointed Bengal skipper Anustup Majumdar emphasised the need to stay focused and dominate the opposition from the word go, in order to perform well in a fast-paced format like T20 cricket. India’s domestic season starts on January 10 with the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Bengal are placed in Group B alongside Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Odisha, Hyderabad and Assam. Anustup highlighted Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand as “tough teams”, while admitting one shouldn’t jump to conclusions based on how a T20 side stacks up on paper.
"Every group is tough, there's no loose group here. On paper, there are two tough teams in our group – Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. Having said that, it's T20 cricket and you shouldn't weigh your opponent on paper, anyone can perform and change the scenario. We have to stay focused and can't afford to play loose cricket for even one ball; only then we can qualify," Anustup said ahead of the domestic T20 tournament.
Led by Anustup Majumdar with wicketkeeper-batsman Shreevats Goswami as his deputy, Bengal have announced a 20-member squad with two players on standby.
The 2019-20 Ranji finalists started their preparatory camp at the Jadavpur University Salt Lake campus ground, before shifting base to the Eden Gardens to practice under lights.
Speaking about the mood in the camp, Anustup Majumdar said the practice matches and match simulations have led to the players being in good shape.
"We have a good team. We are a 20-man squad because of Covid. But we have a strong squad, crafted with good players. All are in good shape, we have had good practice sessions, played practice matches where all the players performed well in their respective departments. All the players are fit," Anustup Majumdar said.
Anustup was Bengal’s second-highest run-scorer in the Ranji Trophy last season in which he smashed 704 runs at an average of 58.66 in eight matches. He also finished as the highest run-getter in the recently-concluded Bengal T20 Challenge, amassing 370 runs at a remarkable average of 61.66.
“This is a new challenge for me” – Anustup Majumdar on captaincy
New Year’s eve was extra special for Anustup Majumder as the Cricket Association of Bengal elevated him to the captain’s role, replacing Abhimanyu Easwaran. The 36-year-old revealed he felt honoured and that he is taking it as a challenge to lead Bengal to greater heights.
"I am really honoured that the CAB has selected me for this role. I don't see it as an achievement but as a responsibility that I want to abide by sincerely. When Bengal will win the trophy that will be an achievement. I love to take on challenges and this a new challenge for me. With the team we have, I hope we will do well in the tournament," Anustup Majumdar stated.
Bengal couldn’t move past the group stages in the last edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Anustup Majumdar would want to first overhaul that shortcoming before moving on towards scaling newer peaks.
Bengal begin their campaign on January 10 against Odisha, at the Eden Gardens. All the teams entered their respective group bio-secure bubbles on January 2.
[With inputs from CAB media desk]
Published 07 Jan 2021, 15:31 IST