Laxmi Ratan Shukla © PTI
Laxmi Ratan Shukla declined commenting on the ball-tampering allegations © PTI


Kolkata: Jan 10, 2014


Bengal skipper Laxmi Ratan Shukla on Friday sought to downplay the acrimonious incidents during the third day of their Ranji Trophy quarter-final match against Railways, saying what happened on the field were within the spirit of the game.


“We are playing a tough sport on the field and not in a play house. Such things happen, you give and take it back… But such things should not spill over the field,” Shukla said.


Shukla refused to comment on the allegations of “ball tampering” against the rival team, but confirmed that Murali Kartik and Co. were warned for doing something with the ball.


“I don’t know [what happened]… I’ve no comments,” Shukla said, adding that his focus was on rebuilding his side’s innings.


He also ruled out sledging and said: “There was no abuse, nothing happened” even as it was apparent from the gallery that there were enough exchanges between the two teams.


A valiant unbeaten 63 by Shukla in a 93-run unbroken partnership with Wriddhiman Saha (30 batting) repaired Bengal innings from being 40/4 as they were 133/4 in their second essay, with a lead of 136.


Shukla said their focus would be to bat as long as they can to hand Railways a stiff target.


“No target is safe. The longer we bat, the better would be for us,” he said.


Shukla praised Ashok Dinda who claimed 6/105 to hand Bengal a slender three-run first innings lead.


“It was an outstanding effort by Dinda, [Sourav] Sarkar and [Shib Shankar] Paul. Dinda was bowling full bloodied effort in his fiery spell. The whole team has charged up by seeing him,” Shukla said.


Sitting beside the skipper, Dinda said: “We’ll give 200 per cent tomorrow — giving both our heart and soul to win the game.”


Asked whether they were under pressure with Railways looking to take a first innings lead, Dinda said: “We were never in backfoot. We had the self belief and faith in our abilities as we did finally. Now, we don’t want to spoil our effort.”