Ranji Trophy Super League, 2007-08 November 24, 2007

Shukla stays even as Bengal ring in changes

Cricinfo staff

Although the Bengal selectors chose to persist with Laxmi Ratan Shukla as captain, they have rung in two changes in the side for the next round of matches: Soham Ghosh for middle-order batsman Safi Ahmed and offspinner Priyankar Mukherjee for the injured left-arm spinner Murtaza Lodhgar. Both the newcomers are yet to make their first-class debuts.

Bengal, runners-up two for the last two editions, have had an ordinary start to the season with three points from two matches and an embarrassing innings defeat to Baroda after they were 221 for no loss on the first day. Shukla had come under fire as a captain and his poor form - one run in three innings - hasn't helped matters. For the time being, the selectors have given him two more matches, but he will be under pressure in both.

The other man under pressure was vice-captain Saurasish Lahiri whose offspin has got him nine wickets but at a dear 38.77. He, too, has got the vote of confidence, but has been stripped of vice-captaincy. There will be no vice-captain for the next two matches.

Bengal, not playing in the current round of matches, play Punjab next, starting from December 1 in Siliguri.