Bengal coach Arun Lal thinks that young pacer Ishan Porel has made rapid strides and can trouble even India skipper Virat Kohli on current form.

The 21-year-old was at his fiery best on Monday as he caught India batsman KL Rahul plumb in front with a sharp inswinger to leave Karnataka reeling at 98/3 in the Ranji Trophy semi-final.

“He’s in great form at the moment,” Lal told reporters. “He’s bowling deliveries that can get big batsmen out, like, a KL Rahul or Virat Kohli.”

He added: “He’s bowling it in that channel. You won’t see him bowling one outside leg stump. He’s testing you all the time. He doesn’t give too many runs that heaps pressure onto the batsmen. KL Rahul is at the peak of his ability at the moment. You watch him scoring runs, he’s magnificent, terrific. It’s a great achievement to get him out cheaply.”

Lal went on to remember his 4/50 against Andhra in the league stage, where he dismissed another India player Hanuma Vihari for 23.

“He got Hanuma out with the delivery that rose up from length. I think he’s ready, to me he’s almost there,” he said.

Fresh from India A’s tour to New Zealand, Porel was the wrecker-in-chief with his 5/39 as Karnataka folded for 122 in their first innings. “I know he has the ability to get the big batsmen out. We are giving him the leeway and rope to go flat out, bowl five-six overs at a stretch,” Lal said.

The lanky pacer, who was injury-prone earlier, has worked on his fitness and is extracting pace and bounce to intimidate the batsmen. Lal said it’s time that the Kings XI Punjab recruit translates his red-ball performance into white-ball cricket with IPL set to begin soon.

“Playing IPL gives you huge experience, mental make up and confidence,” Lal said.

“If you get International batsmen out, win match it’s huge and adds another dimension to you. The world today demands that you play all formats. If I’m a cricketer today, I would like to play all three formats. I would like to be good enough in all three formats. He needs to do that as well.”

Lal feels the key for the tall pacer would be to use his high arm action to advantage and develop slower ones and yorker and then he could be an asset to the side.

“He needs to get the slower ones, the yorker like anybody else in the country. I think he can do it. He has the height. He’s got a very high-arm delivery. He’s not a round arm action.

“His yorkers are pretty lethal once he starts getting it. I think he will be an asset in white ball cricket as well if not now maybe a year down the line.”

Lal however rues Bengal’s yet another batting collapse and said they fell at least 100-run short. Bengal were bundled out for 161 but their massive first innings lead of 190 meant they still were the favourites to make their first Ranji final in 13 years.

“Even I’m clueless about our top-order failure. We were all thinking of getting another 100 runs. Definitely we did not bat well. The match is slightly in our favour but you can’t take anything for granted in cricket,” he said.