The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) is looking to explore the IPL market to appoint a new coach for the Bengal senior team for the next season. It is learned that the CAB is considering relieving current coach Arun Lal from his duties after Bengal’s defeat against Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy semi-final this time. Bengal played the final of the Ranji Trophy in 2019-20 under Arun Lal.
This season Bengal set a world record against Jharkhand and qualified for the semi-finals. In that match 9 batsmen of Bengal had scored half-centuries. However, his batting collapsed against Madhya Pradesh, barring Manoj Tiwary and Shahbaz Ahmed’s hundreds in the first innings in the semi-finals. While 66-year-old Arun Lal is respected in the Bengal cricket fraternity, there is also a perception that the team needs a new direction under the leadership of a young coach.
According to a CAB source, “The state cricket association was keen to appoint Wasim Jaffer. For this, calls were made to the former Mumbai and India opener, but he has already taken charge of the Bangladesh Under-19 team and was not available. The name of Bengal and former India all-rounder Lakshmi Ratan Shukla, who was the coach of the Bengal Under-23 team, is also being considered, but at the moment he is not the first choice.
A CAB official told ‘The Indian Express’, ‘The idea is to hire a coach who will prepare our players for the next level, so that they can knock on the doors of the Indian team. It should be a continuous process. Of course, winning Ranji Trophy is important, but it is also very important.
“CAB wants a coach who can also take charge of the team’s batting. If a coach can oversee the batting of the team, then we will not need to appoint a separate batting coach.
There is no restriction on coaching a state team and being a part of the coaching set-up of an IPL franchise. Sairaj Bahutule and Amol Majumdar have coached Gujarat and Mumbai respectively, along with being part of the coaching set-up of Rajasthan Royals.
His contract with the respective state associations gave him two months to be a part of the T20 league. The Cricket Association of Bengal is also considering the same lines. However, no shortlist has been made as of now.
Sources said the Bengal cricket hierarchy admires Chandrakant Pandit’s work in the domestic circuit. Vidarbha won back-to-back titles in 2017-18 and 2018-19 as coach of Mumbai and the former India wicketkeeper-batsman. Madhya Pradesh is in the final of Ranji Trophy this time under his leadership.
However, one apprehension about Chandrakant Pandit is that his management style is a bit outdated. This may not be suitable for big teams. In high-profile dressing rooms, man management becomes the dominant factor. It is learned that if someone like Andy Flower is available, the CAB is not averse to appointing a foreigner as well. However, for the time being, this is just a back-up plan and a far-fetched one.