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  1. If Shami *were* to make it back, you would think Akash Deep (assuming 3 pace, 2 spinner attack), simple because he is the most similar to Shami.
  2. Yeah, I wondered where he was all this while - probably a late developer who slipped through the cracks. He did put in some fine performances in this campaign, including 3 crucial wickets against Odisha to get the first-innings lead of the drawn QF, and 4 wickets (at less than 2 runs an over!!) vs Rajasthan to set up a victory despite conceding the first-innings lead. In fact, I think it is time we take cricket at every level **seriously** and pick the best team at a given time, at every level. You can always have a couple of developmental U23 sides along with the seniors (say Indi
  3. I think a draw-oriented pitch is the best shot at "beating" Bengal, with probably some grass cover and moisture early on. Bowl first, trigger a top-order collapse and bowl Bengal out in one and a half days, then bat patiently to take the first innings lead over the next two-three days. By that time, the sun will ideally remove all moisture and the pitch will flatten out and become really slow (but still with true bounce), a bit like in New Zealand. If you look at the QF, this might have been the strategy of Odisha (who, one might say, put up a better fight than Karnataka).
  4. Mukesh Kumar was born in Kolkata. If he speaks Bengali well enough, he is definitely Bengali enough for me. Akash Deep is perhaps a little more tricky, since he moved to Bengal a lot later. I hope he will integrate fully into Bengal like Mohammad Shami didn't. Same goes for Shahbaz Ahmed, btw.
  5. It took a special knock transcending the conditions from Anustup Majumdar to get there, ably supported by Akash Deep swinging for the ropes and a decent knock from Shahbaz Ahmed. Maybe they could have got Shahbaz out for cheaper, and Akash Deep had a lot of luck with low-percentage shots coming off, but Majumdar was truly something exceptional ... you cannot blame a bowling attack for succumbing to someone who might have been, with better management within Bengal and less anti-Bengali discrimination on the national level, one of the ATG Indian batsmen.
  6. I do not get why people are surprised and looking for excuses for Pant's failings. He was never good at playing a backs-to-the-wall gritty fifty (like Saha's MoM unbeaten 50s on the Eden Gardens greentop). Pant's speciality has always been high-risk knocks in fairly benign conditions and low-pressure situations - like setting up a declaration or some Hail Mary in a dead rubber of an already lost series. And to make matters worse, he is not particularly proficient at his main job, i.e., wicketkeeping. For me, the main take-away from this series is how poor the analytics of the
  7. Huehuehue ... if and when he does go into coaching (unless he decides to revive his clerical job at Railways, who knows), and if he then does something contrary to the opinion of armchair "experts" , ICF will be flooded with posts to the tune of "who dis guy? Played only handphul of FC matchez for Bengal and Railways, average only 37, reeeeee"
  8. Ffs, why can't it just rain for the next three days in Kolkata? The same rain, e.g., that saved Gujarat from a hiding. Possibly also a bit of bad light for good measure XD
  9. Ja, sort of same old story isn't it? Bengal players and injuries
  10. I am amazed over and over by how Anustup Majumdar has not played for India. He is probably one of the best batting technicians in India at the moment. His home ground, Eden Gardens, is fairly bowler-friendly, so he does not have inflated batting statistics (like a Sarfraz Khan, say), but boy, he can play!! Add to that he has great hand-eye coordination, which shows in his beautiful in-field catching, and I believe the national set-up has genuinely "done him dirty". IIRC, when East Zone won the Duleep Trophy 2011/12, he was an invaluable contributor of tough runs (along with Natraj Be
  11. Re part I bolded: that would be Dravid, since he did, at some point in his career, end up behind the stumps (although he never did so in tests). But I suspect there exists a sufficiently fine-tuned set of criteria to include Pant objectively. Of course, the list is subjective from the start anyway, so ... as you were ;-)
  12. If only, but hope springs eternal. At the moment, however, it seems the only way we might be treated to Saha keeping in New Zealand is if New Zealand's pace attack sorts it out for us :-( ... a bit like Australia did in the ODIs, but there it was unfortunately KL Rahul and not Saha :-( ... In hindsight, it was clear the team management was planning to keep Saha on the bench, because they called for an early draw in the practice match just because Saha got going in the second innings :-( If only Saha had gone full IPL-final mode and brought up a few milestones before TM could stitch
  13. Word! It became glaringly obvious Saha was going to be on the bench because once he got going in the second innings and was breezing towards a run-a-ball 50, they promptly agreed to call an early draw to avoid any selection headaches - I mean WTF!?!??
  14. And before anyone still thinks it is a good idea to slag off my Rosogolla brothers - please remember that Odisha has always been there or thereabouts in First Class cricket. When East Zone won the Duleep Trophy in 2012, yes Ashok Dinda and Mohammad Shami were essential in blowing opposition batting line-ups away, and the likes of Wriddhiman Saha, Anustup Majumdar, etc. scored important hundreds, but do not forget that the likes of Natraj Behera, Biplab Samantray and Basant Mohanty were right up there, pulling their weight. TL;DR: Rosogollas together strong!
  15. Gujarat were on their way to being hammered by Bengal in the group stages, before bad light and rain saved them. And then Gujarat topped the group *facepalm* ... such things happen in long group stages, so relax! Odisha knew what they had to in order to make it to the QF stage, and they did - they deserve to be there ahead of the likes of Jharkhand and Maharashtra; no amount of crying over spilt milk will change that. This would have been true even if Odisha lost by more than an innings and 300 runs (which is precisely what happened when Hyderabad, they of the mighty Elite Groups A&B,
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