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Deep Dasgupta: Compact in front of the crease and a natural behind it

In the course of a single season Deep Dasgupta has swiftly emerged from the depths of obscurity to become an India prospect. As the season got underway, Dasgupta did not even figure in Bengal's scheme of things. But Saba Karim's eye injury in the Asia Cup in Dhaka last June opened the doors for Dasgupta and he seized the opportunity with alacrity, the 23-year-old's crisply efficient display before and behind the wickets in the Ranji and Duleep Trophies pitchforking him into the selectors' consciousness.

Having spent all his formative years in Delhi - for whom he played in the Vijay Merchant Trophy at Under-16 level - Dasgupta later shifted to his home state of Bengal, debuting with a flourish in 1998/99. With Karim ensconced as the Bengal captain, the doors were barred as a wicket keeper but playing instead as a specialist opener, he rattled up a century against Baroda in the Ranji Super League. The lad made only sporadic appearances until the 2000-01 season when he took over from Karim after the first two ties in the East Zone league and never looked back. His mettle was most transparently evident in the Duleep Trophy in which he snaffled 13 dismissals in four games, well ahead of any of his competitors, besides weighing in with handy contributions as a batsman in crunch situations.

Even so his selection among the 26 Indian probables, above Nayan Mongia and Vijay Dahiya, came as a bit of surprise, even to him. Having also been inducted into the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, Dasgupta impressed legendary Aussie stumper Rodney Marsh at the preparatory camp before the Zimababwe tour. That he did not finally make it into the touring party would not have fazed him one bit. He knows he is in for the long haul and a week spent rubbing shoulders with the Indian team has given him the confidence that he can be as good as the best in the business. Dasgupta says he wants to become a household name. On the evidence so far that does not seem too far-fetched a dream.

Deep Dasgupta
Deep Dasgupta

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