Bengal coach Arun Lal on Monday asked the BCCI to probe how such a sub-standard surface was prepared for their Ranji Trophy final against Saurashtra as far too many balls kept low on the opening day, especially in the final session. Saurashtra reached 206 for five at close of play.
Saurashtra welcomed Bengal to the SCA Stadium in Rajkot for the final showdown of the 86th season of India’s premier domestic tournament. The hosts won the toss and put their visitors in to bat, and the decision was justified as batting became increasingly difficult as deliveries barely found lift-off towards the end of the day. Playing at a non-neutral venue went down well with Lal, but he admitted he had hoped for a better standard of conditions for the big game.
“Very poor wicket. The board has to look into things like these. The ball is not coming up. This is not good for cricket. The ball is not getting off, it is dusting, reversing. Very poor. No, not necessarily (on neutral venue). You have got neutral curators. The board should look into it. Send your curator 15 days before the game. Even the curator has not done a good job,” Lal told PTI.
The Bengal pace attack, who had triumphed over a star-studded Karnataka batting line-up last week in the semis, targeted the stumps in the final session with the ball keeping low, and was duly rewarded with three wickets.
“We had to attack the batsman (in the third session). You have to contain runs. As I said, it is a poor wicket. Medium-pacer is bowling with one slip and there is no chance of ball carrying it to slips. It would be a disgrace if the ball starts rolling through on day three,” Lal said.
The former Indian cricketer, however, was satisfied with his team’s efforts on day one, noting correctly that there is still a long way to go in the match.
“Yes, I am. This is a long game. 15 sessions have to be played, we have played three. We will fight till the end whatever the result. We don’t focus on the result. We focus on what we do best. If we keep them to under 300 in the first innings, I will be happy,” Lal added.