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Sourav Ganguly bats for Laxmi Ratan Shukla's India comeback in Ranji final

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 - 10:03pm IST Updated: Wednesday, 15 January 2014 - 10:04pm IST | Place: Kolkata | Agency: PTI

Urging Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla not to lose hope for a India comeback, Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday said the national selectors would surely be noticing the allrounder's sparkling show if they make the Ranji final.

"If Bengal make the final, Shukla's performance will be counted by the national selectors, (Ashoke) Dinda will also make a strong case for himself for a comeback," Ganguly said of Shukla who played three ODIs way back in 1999.

Despite having got the Lala Amarnath award for the best all-rounder in domestic limited overs by the Board, the 32-year-old is still being overlooked as Stuart Binny was chosen for the allrounder spot in India's five ODIs in New Zealand.

Defending the decision, Ganguly said the selectors had considered the burly allrounder's IPL show for the Rajasthan Royals and rued that Bengal had little representation in the T20 extravaganza which is taken as a yardstick.

"He (Binny) had been a stand out performer for the Rajasthan Royals and in their qualification into the (IPL 6) final. He has also been retained by Rajasthan Royals.

"But if you look at Bengal, our boys are not even get a chance to play in IPL regularly...

"On form, Shami is the best Indian pacer at the moment, but it's unfortunate that he's not retained by the state franchise (KKR).

"These are the things national selectors take into account. Selectors are bound to give importance to a big tournament like IPL, that's the way it is, that's the system," Ganguly pointed out.

Hailing Bengal for making the Ranji semifinal for the first time since 2006-07, Ganguly said: "They have all performed under from pressure, right from skipper Shukla, Dinda who is still being overlooked by the national selectors...

"All these players have stood under pressure. For four years, they have fought relegation. I've seen it very closely. I know how tough it is," the left-hander told a Bengali news channel.

"On paper, Bengal have beaten stronger teams to make the semis than Maharashtra who have come from lower rung group C. But any team at this stage is strong, they (Bengal) have to play all five days of good cricket to be in the final," he said of Bengal who will face Maharashtra in Indore from January 18-22.

Ganguly further said India would do well in the five ODI and two-Test series in New Zealand, an "inferior" side to South Africa.

"They dont have (Dale) Steyn or (Morne) Morkel in their side. New Zealand are an inferior side in comparison to South Africa. If their coaches are intelligent enough, they would have out and out greentops.

"I'm very very hopeful of success against New Zealand. We've just come back from a tough tour of South Africa, losing both Test and ODI series. We have seen India doing well after a difficult tour. But I'm hopeful of Team India doing well in New Zealand."

Ganguly, who has already got an honorary fellowship from University of Central Lancashire, will be conferred D.Litt by the Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur.

"That I will be honoured in my home town makes it all the more special. It's a big honour for me. I feel proud," Ganguly concluded. 


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