VVS Laxman confident of good show from Bengal in coming season

Kolkata: Indian batting great VVS Laxman, who is batting consultant in Cricket Association of Bengal’s (CAB) ambitious ‘Vision 2020’ programme believes that they would be a transformed side in the upcoming season and would be successful win their first Ranji Trophy title since 1990.

“It is just about realising their true potential. We are working on the technical aspect. I am sure that they will have a successful season,” Laxman said on his last day at the ‘Vision 2020’ camp in Jadavpur University (second campus) ground in Salt Lake.

“The basic advice for them is to understand their strengths. Everyone has got a unique talent and they have their own of playing style. Good thing is there’s no shortage of match practice. The introduction of three-day Super League is also good. The more matches they play, the better understanding they would have of the game.”

Bengal had a tumultuous last season that began with an alleged infighting, stepping down from captaincy of Laxmi Ratan Shukla, who’s now a minister of state sports, while skipper Manoj Tiwary’s spat with his Delhi counterpart Gautam Gambhir made national headlines.

Having finished runners-up in group A with an unbeaten run, Bengal made a quarterfinal exit with a huge 395-run defeat against Madhya Pradesh after being routed for 121 in the first innings.

“I don’t think they choked. They did really well in the Ranji Trophy. If you see, they lost a high-scoring match last season. Yes, they did not bat well in the first innings but they still went on and played with a positive frame of mind, and were looking to chase.

“I think there’s a lot of improvement from the mental point of view as well. It’s an ongoing process. Once they do that they would become a complete player. The process has already started. It’s not only about the technique but the mental aspect of the game is also very important. We have been addressing both,” Laxman added.

A brainchild of Sourav Ganguly, who’s now the Cricket Association of Bengal president, the ‘Vision 2020’ aims to make the state a supply line of players for Team India.

Legendary Pakistani pacer Waqar Yunus was on board when the programme was launched in 2014 before becoming the national coach.

The programme now has Laxman and spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan as the spin bowling consultant. About 80 players in the age group of U-19, 23 and senior Bengal team participated in the camp began May 31.

The second phase of the camp will begin before the start of Ranji season, Laxman informed reporters.

“It was a successful camp, and great to see all the players who attended last year as well.

There’s a lot of potential in Bengal and youngsters are showing signs of improvement. The next camp will be before the season and then we can focus on the planning aspect. It was more about the technical aspect that we’re focussing on,” he concluded.