U 19 sensation Ravi Kumar will be seen with the Bengal squad for the upcoming Ranji Trophy, the team will start it’s campaign from February 16 in Cuttack.
The veteran keeper- batter Wriddhiman Saha will likely be seen for atleast the opening game if not the first two of the Ranji Trophy sessions before he joins the Indian team’s bio-bubble in Mohali for the first Test against Sri Lanka, scheduled tentatively on March 4.
Bengal team will leave for Cuttack on February 10, the team has been clubbed alongside Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Baroda in Elite Group B.
The current Bengal U 19 head coach Devang Gandhi appreciated the idea, if the senior state selectors and team management decide upon including Ravi in the senior squad.
“Nothing gives any coach more satisfaction than seeing their wards make it to the elite level. That’s what as coaches we aspire for — to guide the talented boys in right direction.
“No one would be more happier than me if both Ravi and Abhishek Porel, (who is also in the West Indies as stand-by) make it to Ranji squad,” Devang told PTI, having already guided the junior team to Cooch Behar Trophy quarter-finals.
The BCCI is yet to release the dates of the U 19 national quarters. The head coach opined that as much he would love to have them in the junior team, the aim is to see them getting prepared for difficult challenges ahead.
“I would love to have them quarter-finals as and when they are held. But for their own growth and betterment, they should quickly progress to the next level. “For Ravi I can say, that he is a very hard working boy and in years, you will see him add a few yards of pace with his natural ability to swing it back in,” said the head coach.
While talking to sources close to the senior team management, it is believed that both Ravi and Porel will make it to the main squad if not the playing XI after their bright performances.
“Yes, there is a bright possibility that Ravi after his performances in the U-19 World Cup will be included in the Bengal senior team. We need to groom them and catch them young.
“With BCCI not scheduling any U-25 tourney (Bengal A) as of now, Ravi needs to be nurtured with care. Obviously, it’s a selector’s call but both head coach Arun Lal and coach Saurasish Lahiri are keeping a close watch on Ravi.
“Even if he doesn’t make it to first XI in presence of Akash Deep, Ishan Porel and Mukesh Kumar, who knows there could be a chance just round the corner,” a source close to Bengal team management said.