Old stalwart Laxmi Ratan Shukla to be Bengal coach, WV Raman batting coach

Laxmi Ratan Shukla is set to be the Bengal senior team’s head coach, while WV Raman will be the batting coach, it is learned. An announcement in this regard is expected from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) on Tuesday. Shukla will replace Arun Lal, who stepped down at the end of this season.

Lal was successful as Bengal coach, taking the team to the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy final and guiding the side to the semifinal this term. However, after Bengal lost to Madhya Pradesh in the last-four stage, Lal, 66, stepped down, citing “fatigue”.

Former India and Mumbai opener Wasim Jaffer was the CAB’s first choice, but he has already taken up the role to coach the Bangladesh U-19 team. The state association initially thought about hiring a coach from the Indian Premier League, someone like Abhishek Nayar or Andy Flower, but ultimately the search was narrowed down to Shukla and Ashok Dinda, the two former Bengal stalwarts.

Shukla, who played three ODIs, 137 first-class games and 141 List A matches, has been in charge of the Bengal U-23 team and according to a CAB source, has made a natural progression. The appointment will be in sync with the state association’s policy to hire a younger coach, who is a popular figure in the dressing room. The ex-all-rounder is 41 years old.

Raman, a former India and Tamil Nadu opener, had earlier served as Bengal’s head coach over two stints. He will be returning to look after the team’s batting.

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