Placed at the bottom of Group B with five points from four matches, Bengal are staring at relegation in the Ranji Trophy. In a desperate bid to avoid being stripped off an Elite berth, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) has asked former India captain Sourav Ganguly to lead the side in last two match against Delhi (December 13-16) and Baroda (December 21-24) instead of regular captain Manoj Tiwary.
The reason for this, according to a CAB official is Tiwary's so-called lack of leadership skills. "He is our main batsman, but as a leader he was very ordinary and so we wanted him to concentrate more on batting which will eventually help our cause," a CAB official told MiD DAY yesterday.
It may seem that Tiwary has been relieved of the pressure of leading the side to concentrate more on batting, but that is not the case, according to people in the know within Bengal's cricketing circles. Some in the CAB believe that Tiwary hasn't delivered as captain in the matches he got to lead. On the other hand, they feel Ganguly's credentials as captain are unquestionable and he is the right man to inspire the team when it is in dire straits.
After losing to Tamil Nadu by 10 wickets on Friday, it was expected that Tiwary, who was busy with national duty, would take the reigns back from stand-in skipper Ganguly. Ganguly even informed his teammates that it was his last match as skipper as Tiwary would be back in the side for the last two matches.
But it is learnt, CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya had already chalked out a plan even before the loss to Tamil Nadu at the Eden Gardens. Soon after the defeat, Dalmiya requested Ganguly to come down to the BC Roy Clubhouse for a discussion. It is believed that the southpaw was then offered to lead and he accepted it.
More importantly, Ganguly was to miss Bengal's last tie against Baroda owing to his commentary commitments for the India-Australia series starting December 26. But it is learnt that the charismatic batsman made himself available for Bengal by delaying his departure to Australia. This development may signal the end of Tiwary's stint as Bengal captain.