Arun Lal: I still believe we were the best team
Usually, I don't think about my strike rate but this was a tough pitch says, Arun Lal.
Ultimately, it was not just Bengal coach J Arun Lal but also Saurashtra stalwart Cheteshwar Pujara, who admitted that batting on the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) wicket during the Ranji Trophy final was a tough task. "This was probably one of my slowest innings [66 of 237 balls] in the domestic circuit. Usually, I don't think about my strike rate but this was a tough pitch. The ball was not coming on to the bat. I needed to put my head down and play a crucial knock. Ultimately, we needed a good total on the board," the India Test star said after his team won the Ranji Trophy title via a first innings lead.
Arun Lal, meanwhile, stressed on the significance of winning away. "I don't generally agree with the neutral venue concept. Like [former Australia skipper] Steve Waugh once said to his team, 'if you are the best, prove it by beating India in India, not here [in Australia].' I wanted my boys to do the same, beat Mumbai, Delhi or even Saurashtra in their own den. That's the challenge.
"Here, we lost the toss on a poor wicket—let's not talk much about the wicket now since we have lost. We must improve and be a better team. This team has great potential. They [Saurashtra] are the champions but I still believe, we were the best team in the competition. The way we consistently fought back in adverse situations was fabulous," added Arun Lal, who is yet to decide if he will continue with the team next season.
The Bengal camp however, will do everything to have him again in the dressing room, considering he helped the side reach the Ranji final after 13 years.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe