Be it football or cricket, an East Bengal- Mohun Bagan encounter is always exciting to watch. However, this time when both these teams faces each other in the semi-final CAB First Division League, all eyeballs would be on Indian Test team Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, whose presence would undoubtedly be a huge boost to the Mohun Bagan squad, when they go up against their arch-rivals East Bengal.
The right-handed batsman has been in terrific form of late as quite recently, he smashed a 55 ball 93, that helped his IPL team- Kings XI Punjab register a crucial win over Mumbai Indians. But, he ended this year’s IPL with just 234 runs to his name from 14 matches.
He has regularly been playing since the India -Australia series but he vows to be ready to represent his team even if it means that he loses out on some rest.
Said Saha, in an interaction with Xtratime.in, “If the team requires my service, I am always available. I have been playing constantly since the test series against Australia. Ideally for me, I would love to take rest. It depends on the team management whether they will keep me in the playing XI,”
Mohun Bagan has that edge over their arch-rivals in the sense that their batting is very strong. With names like Wriddhiman Saha, Debabrata Das, Anustup Majumdar, skipper Subhomoy Das, Joyjit Basu and Sudip Chatterjee in their ranks, the batting looks pretty solid. Their bowling would be led by Eklakh Ahmed.
However derby debutant, Sudip isn’t under any sort of pressure at all.
He said, “It will be my first derby after playing for 9 years in Kalighat. I am under no pressure at all. It is just another match for me. I would like to make a substantial contribution for my team,”
But East Bengal, despite being inexperienced, statistically carries an advantage over Mohun Bagan and has a better head to head record against them, especially in the CAB First Division League. The experienced Arnab Nandy, Subhojit Banerjee and Vivek Singh would be the main pillars of their batting. They would miss the services of U-19 cricketer Ishan Porel, who is in the NCA for an Indian U-19 camp.
Mohun Bagan captain Subhomoy Das expressed confidence in his side and believed that they can win if they give their best.
“If we play to our potential we are confident of winning the match. It is always a pressure match. Will depend on how the juniors from both sides handle the pressure. East Bengal is a good side. We will go all-out to win the match” said Das.
Talking of Wriddhiman Saha’s presence in the team, he said that his inclusion would “definitely boost their confidence on the ground.”
Arnab Nandy, the East Bengal skipper too said that he has faith in his team’s abilities.
In the other semifinal, Town Club would lock horns with Bhawanipur in Kalyani. It would be no less than a good opportunity for the latter to extract some revenge for themselves after they were defeated by Town Club, the last time these two clubs met each other.
Mohun Bagan: Subhomoy Das (C) , Arindam Ghosh, Joyjit Basu, Sudip Chatterjee, Debabrata Das, Anustup Majumder, Rajkumar Pal, Neelkantha Das, Wriddhiman Saha, Tuhin Banerjee, Raja Yadav, A. Rahman
East Bengal: Arnab Nandy (C) , Vivek Singh, Prasenjit Das, Subhojit Banerjee, B. Amit, Sourav Mondal, Kaushik Ghosh, Susanta Das, Bidyut Adhikari, Praveen Gupta, P. Laxman
–Kolkata Bureau (With inputs from Xtratime.in)