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    Former India batsman Ashok Malhotra named Bengal coach

    Kolkata: Former India batsman Ashok Malhotra was on Monday named coach of Bengal senior cricket team.

    "We just finalised him as our coach for the upcoming season. He has agreed for a two-year term with us and will join the side on October 1," CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya said after a meeting with Malhotra at his office here.

    56-year-old Malhotra thus replaces former India opener WV Raman who has now returned to his home side Tamil Nadu after a three-season stint with Bengal.

    A Level III coach, Malhotra briefly coached Team India in acting capacity when John Wright had gone to New Zealand ahead of a triangular series in Dhaka in 2003 besides coaching India 'A'.

    A former national selector, Malhotra was a middle-order batsman and many had compared him with the legendary G R Viswanath.

    He had played seven Tests for India and in the 1980s also featured in 20 ODIs scoring 457 at an average of 30.47. He was also a member of 1985 World Series Championship-winning side in Australia.

    A prolific run-getter at the domestic level, Malhotra held the record of most runs in the Ranji Trophy -- 7274 at an average of 52.54 with 18 centuries having played for Bengal and Haryana.

    His highest score was an unbeaten 258 for Bengal against Hyderabad in 1989-90 season.

    Malhotra said that he wanted to give back something to Bengal cricket.

    "As a commentator for last nine years, I've been shutting between Delhi and Kolkata. But now, it's like coming back to home. I am so excited to return to Bengal. I personally feel I can give something back to Bengal cricket. I've given an opportunity and am looking forward to give my best," he said.

    "It's very easy to talk so let us wait and watch. Bengal cricket has been struggling for some time. There's a lot of work to do. I truly believe we have the potential to make it count. The real work will begin after we pick the side in September," he said.

    Malhotra said that he would take help from former Bengal and India captain Sourav Ganguly.

    "I will definitely take the help of Sourav Ganguly and all the senior cricketers. Sourav is a cricketing icon and is synonymous with Bengal cricket. We need all your help," he said.