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Teams set for inaugural Bengal T20 Challenge following player draft

Ambar Bhattacharya, abptakmaa, Kolkata, 17th Nov 2020 : As many as 48 players were drafted into the six teams today at a glitzy affair for the inaugural edition of the Bengal T20 Challenge to be played at Eden Gardens from November 24 in a bio-bubble eco-system for the ongoing pandemic.

The draft ceremony took place maintaining all Covid protocols.

An additional 24 players were selected by the six clubs as stand-by in case the need so arises. The players were picked from a pool of 200 players picked from across the state based on their performance in the shorter format of the game last season.

Earlier, the clubs- Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Tapan Memorial, Town, Kalighat and Customs–had retained 42 players from their existing teams.

Talking about the tournament, CAB President Avishek Dalmiya said: “A total of 33 games would be played including semifinals and the final. Majority of the matches will be played under the floodlights at Eden Gardens. All the players, coaches and match officials will continue to remain in the bio bubble during the entire course of the tournament. The thought process behind this tournament is to nurture the talents of the state of West Bengal and also enable this competition to act as a talented feeder to the various age groups representing the association.”

“While we desire to make this tournament a part of the annual calender of CAB, we would also like to provide unique experience to the cricketing fans. At the same time we also have to keep in mind that these are very difficult times and to make this tournament successful we must adhere to the guidelines,  protocols. There will be health officers who will be ensuring that the bio bubble norms are followed and if anyone’s out of the bio bubble, he’s out of the tournament,” he added.

“This tournament is a CAB property and it will continue to remain the same without franchises. We are trying to ensure all the top brands are associated, top players are associated. We took suggestions from our think tank, the Bengal support staff and the coaches. We are planning several other initiatives like having a bio-secured venue with the accommodation facilities at Kalyani after the end of the tournament where we would be having camps. Already office bearers have visited the venue to make sure all the necessary steps and procedures to make it a bio secured venue,” he signed-off.

CAB Secretary Snehasish Ganguly said, “Last 15 days we have worked hard for this tournament and I am thankful to the President, the clubs and everyone associated to make this possible. The way the clubs have done their homework it shows that you are eager to play the tournament and I can assure you that a lot of young talents will come up from this tournament. All concerned have done a tremendous job which is going to push Bengal cicket one big step in the right direction. Regarding practice I feel sometimes it’s better to start fresh. I am speaking from experience.”

Bengal Head Coach Arun Lal, while lauding the CAB office bearers for the fabulous initiative, said: ” This a phenomenally placed tournament and great job done by CAB. This tournament is 15 days prior to the board tournaments and if one can perform here he can open the gates to greater opportunities. I have been telling the marquee players that this is God sent opportunity, this has never happened to any of the Bengal players before. By the time we start the season couple of board tournaments are over and for the selection process we have to look into last year’s performance. I believe you can do a great service to the Bengal cricket if you can dislodge the entrenched players, they are the ones under pressure not the youngsters.This is a great opportunity for the youngsters and the players who are forgotten.”

CAB Vice-president Naresh Ojha could not be present congratulated the association for the event and assured his cooperation. Earlier, Joint Secretary Debabrata Das and Treasurer Debashis Ganguly thanked the clubs for coming forward with such enthusiasm and reassured that the tournament will be a grand success with everyone’s contribution.

A host of dignitaries including former and present Bengal players were peesent at Novotel on the occasion. The programme was hosted by former India cricketer Deep Dasgupta, Historian Boria Majumdar and Cricket Operations Director Joydeep Mukherjee.

The teams are East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Kalighat Club, Tapan Memorial Club, Town Club, Calcutta Customs Club.

The players booked for 6 clubs are as follows

East Bengal : Abhimanyu Easwaran, Sreevats Goswami, Abhishek Raman, Boddupalli Amit, Arnab Nandi, Sayan Sekhar Mandal, Kanshik Seth, Akash Pandey, Dipanjan Mukherjee, Mukhesh Kumar, Arindam Ghosh, Anubhav Ahuja, Raju Halder, Sujit Kumar Yadav, Durgesh Kumar Dubey.

Mohun Bagan : Manoj Tewary, Debabrata Das, Anustup Majumder, Vivek Singh, Akash Deep, Sayan Ghosh, Rajkumar Pal, Writtick Chatterjee, Ankur Paul, Shivam Sharma, Saurabh Singh, Prince Yadav, Anurag Tewari, Sandipan Das (Jr), Suraj Sindhu Jaiswal

Kalighat Club : Subham Sarkar, Subham Chatterjee, Jayojit Basu, Sudip Chatterjee, Pradipta Pramanik, Mithilesh Das, Aamir Gani, Amit Kuila, Pritam Chakraborty, Amit Banerjee, Satyaki Dutta, Abhishek Bose, Sourav Mondal, Subhrajit Das, Prinan Dutta.

Tapan Memorial Club : Shahbaz Ahmed, Koushik Ghosh, Sandipan Das, Prayas Ray Barman, Nilkantha Das, Sumit Mohanta, Abhishek Porel, Gaurav Chauhan, Kaif Ahmed, Debopratim Halder, Roshan Singh, Ramesh Prasad, Sourav Chanda, Shakir Habib Gandhi, Tarun Godara.

Town Club : Md. Kaif, Aritra Chatterjee, Sudip Gharami, Mirza Danish Alam, Ayan Bhattacharya, Golam Mustafa, Kazi Junnaid Saifi, Arikta Das, Azaz Ansari, Gitimoy Basu, Avijit Singh, Purab Joshi, Ananta Saha, Pankaj Shaw, Naved Ahmed.

Calcutta Customs Club : Shreyan Chakraborty, Abhishek Das, Chirag Pathak, Sumanta Gupta, Karan Lal, Agniv Pan, Ravi Kant Singh, Dip Chatterjee, Bapi Manna, Suvankar Bal, Prosenjit K Das, Arjun Kumar, Kunal Kumar, Arka Sarkar, Abhilas Semwal.

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