Kolkata: Former international cricketer and Bengal captain, Laxmi Ratan Shukla is all set to get back to where he belongs. The lush green grass of Eden Gardens and the surrounding areas know the all-rounder well and he again expected to be whites in the coming cricket season.
The Cricket Association of Bengal is set to appoint 40-year-old Shukla as the coach of the Bengal U-23 side.
Shukla had quit politics four months ahead of the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 when he relinquished the minister’s post back in January. He was Trinamool Congress MLA from Howrah (North) constituency.
He had also quit as the Howrah district Trinamool Congress president’s apparently to concentrate on cricket. He entered politics in 2015, and served as a minister of state, youth affairs and sports, until January 2021.
In his career as a frontline domestic cricketer, Shukla led the Bengal Ranji team. He played three ODIs for India.
Shukla will replace another former Bengal cricketer Sourasish Lahiri, who has been promoted as assistant coach of the senior Bengal team coached by Arun Lal.
Ex-Bengal speedster Shib Shankar Paul has been given charge of mentoring the Bengal bowlers of all age groups.
Former India batsman VVS Laxman, whose contract was scheduled to expire in October 2021 as the batting consultant, has been extended till March 2022. Utpal Chatterjee would continue as the spin bowling coach for squads of all age groups.
As far as the CAB women’s team is concerned, Rituparna Roy would be the head Coach while Charanjit Singh would assist her for the senior women’s team.
“On behalf of the Association, I wish the Former Cricketers who have been given newer responsibilities all the best and am confident that they would be able to use their wealth of experience to help Bengal Cricket earn laurels in the forthcoming domestic season,” CAB president Avishek Dalmiya was quoted as saying in a press release. Bengal chief coach Arun Lal welcomed Lahiri as his assistant. “I am very happy with his appointment. He is honest, hardworking, focussed and driven. He has been with the U-23 boys for three seasons and he knows them very well. I know him personally and like him, he has been a spectacular cricketer for Bengal. I am looking forward to working with him,” the coach said.