Manoj backs Pragyan as Bengal register hat-trick of wins in Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Bengal beat Odisha by 24 runs to remain on top of Group


Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary once again came forward to back left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. File Pic. 

Kolkata: Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary once again stood by the side of Pragyan Ojha following Bengal’s hat-trick of wins in the ensuing Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy at the Eden Gardens. Manoj looked a tad frustrated to see continuous criticism aimed at the left arm spinner.

“Why do you feel Ojha’s performance has been disappointing?” asked Manoj to a journalist who questioned him about Ojha’s bowling.

“There are so many experienced bowlers in the country playing for various states in the country who have been going for a lot of runs. So why are you holding Pragyan responsible? To single out a person is not fair. A few media is targeting him. He has been brought by the association and we should respect it. We should not make him feel as an outsider. We should all support him like any other Bengal boys. He cannot be singled out for going for too many runs. You have to look at the situation he is being used. He did well for Bengal last season as he picked 37 wickets.”

On being asked that the bowler did not have the similar success he had last season, Tiwary once again stood beside Ojha.

“He did not get spinning track. Did anyone travel to Nagpur to watch the Mumbai match? Did you know how many catches were dropped off his bowling?” said a peeved Manoj before leaving the club house.

Meanwhile Bengal continued its winning streak in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as they recorded an easy 24 runs win over Odisha in the T20 Zonal League at the Eden Gardens here today. Batting first Bengal made a disastrous start as they were reduced to 67/5 with Wriddhiman Saha (10), Abhishek Raman (5) and Manoj Tiwary (1) back in the pavilion. But a late strike from Writtick Chatterjee and Kanishk Seth helped Bengal reach 145 for 7 on a pitch that aided the bowlers.

Writtick scored 33 runs off 22 balls which included 2 fours and sixes while Kanishk Seth notched up a quickfire 22 runs off only 11 balls. Sreevats Goswami (33 off 31 balls) and Pramod Chandila (32) too chipped in with useful contributions.

Paresh Patel( 2 for 18) and Deepak Behera (2 for 16) were the top bowlers for Odhisa.

In reply Odisha also made a disastrous start and were tottering at 39/5 at one stage. Subhransu Senapati scored a patient 41 runs off 45 balls that did not help the cause for the visitors. Abhishek Yadav (23 off18 balls), Suryakant Pradhan (14 off 5 balls) and Basant Mohanty (19 off 17) made brief flourishes but Bengal kept chipping away at the wickets to fold the match with 8 balls to spare.

Sayan Ghosh was again the tormenter in chief for Bengal with 3 wickets for 25 with Pragyan ojha taking 2 for 29 to leave Odhisa at bay. They were ably supported by Ashoke Dinda, Kanishk Seth and Writtick Chatterjee who took a wicket each.

Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary lauded the effort of his teammates for the win today.

“It was an outstanding performance from the boys, specially the middle order batsman who made some useful contribution with the bat. The pitch was a bit awkward at the beginning and had a bit of bounce too unlike the traditional Eden Gardens strip. There has been a lot of seam movement and bounce which I think is good for cricket. It was a sporting wicket I must say as it had something to offer for both batsman and bowlers.”

Tiwary heaped huge praises on the Vision 20-20 initiative by the association.

“The association is spending so much money to see the cricketers getting success on the field. Former cricketers like Muralitharan, VVS Laxman and TA Sekhar has been hired to groom the youngsters, to share their expertise. Good to see the young bowlers doing well under pressure. Smart cricketers are coming up,” said Manoj.

Meanwhile, the East Zone team will be selected on Sunday. Apart from Debang Gandhi, none of the selectors were present at Eden Gardens for the last few days.

On being asked about his expectation as to how many Bengal players he feels should be in the zonal side, Manoj said, “A champion side should have the most number of representations in the team. The youngster’s performance has been the biggest positive.”

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