DEHRADUN: It will be a peculiar homecoming for Abhimanyu Easwaran when he dons the Bengal colours against Uttarakhand at the Abhimanyu Cricket Academy Stadium, a venue named after the opener, at his hometown in the Ranji Trophy Group-A match, starting in Dehradun on Tuesday.
Bengal will need the services of an in-form Abhimanyu the most to stop the victory march of table topper Uttarakhand.
Abhimanyu scored a fine century, his fourth consecutive three-figure mark (including one in List A and three in First Class), on his return to the Bengal side against Nagaland and would be keen to continue with his sublime touch against his ‘home’ team.
The Bengal squad flew straight from Dimapur to Dehradun to get used to the colder conditions. Captain Manoj Tiwary took a short break before rejoining the squad.
Bengal, with 16 points from two outright wins and a first innings lead, has gathered a distinct momentum despite the absence of pacer Mukesh Kumar and will look forward to carry on with it.
Batters, including Abhimanyu, Koushik Ghosh, Sudip Gharami, Tiwary, Anustup Majumdar and Shahbaz Ahmed, have scored well and will be full of confidence against the Jiwanjot Singh-led Uttarakhand, which has secured 19 points from three outright victories.
While speedsters Ishan Porel and Akash Deep have performed their responsibility well, spinners Shahbaz, Pradipta Pramanik and newcomer Karan Lal have risen to the occasion nicely.
Even though Jiwanjot and Kunal Chandela have been the prominent scorers for the host, others have chipped in when needed.
Pacer Deepak Dhapola, who achieved his career-best figures of eight for 35 against Himachal Pradesh in the last match, and the left-arm spin duo of Swapnil Singh and Mayank Mishra have taken 14 wickets apiece to contribute heavily in their side’s superb success so far.
A cracking contest is expected when the two unbeaten teams clash.