Bengal team was their second consecutive Ranji final, having lost to Uttar Pradesh the previous season.
Since then Bengal have remained on the outside fringes on the Indian first-class circuit despite having won the Vijay Hazare Trophy .
And the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament once each
[East Zone won the latter once too, when the format changed in 2016-17].
This Ranji season there is once again a sense of optimism as Bengal remain
in contention going into the final round of the league phase.
They have been rather impressive in patches, but it won’t surprise anyone,
Including themselves, if Bengal fail to make the knockouts. Same old story, people will say, and move on.
It is a paradox that the state of Bengal that gave Indian cricket a pioneering administrator in Jagmohan Dalmiya.
and a successful international captain in Sourav Ganguly, currently the BCCI president, has struggled and stagnated when it comes to cricket.
Since Ganguly retired, only four players from Bengal have played for India:
Ashok Dinda and Manoj Tiwary featured briefly in the mid-2010s but couldn’t quite stay the course.
Mohammed Shami has become one of the premier all-format bowlers for India.
While Wriddhiman Saha remains the first-choice wicketkeeper in Test cricket.
But his poor form in the current season – 182 runs at 20.22 in 11 innings before the final round –
Has put pressure on the 24-year-old who shifted to Kolkata from Dehradun. There is also Ishan Porel, who was part of the 2018 Under-19 World Cup-winning squad and is currently part of the India A outfits.
But overall, Bengal has continued to remain outsiders on the Ranji circuit. If it has featured in the headlines, it has been because of controversies.
During a break in play in one of the Ranji games, and being removed, though CAB officials played down the incident.
The biggest story, however, involved the removal of Dinda, the team’s senior-most pacer, from the squad altogether after ugly scenes with the bowling coach Ranadeb Bose.