New Delhi: Plagued by injuries to its top five pacers and axing of the team’s IPL star Nitish Rana, a shambolic Delhi will start as underdogs in their own den against a formidable Tamil Nadu in a Ranji Trophy Group B clash here on Tuesday.
The team whose dressing room resembles a medical facility will face a full-strength Tamil Nadu side with the in-form pair of N Jagadeesan and Sai Sudharshan facing a real test in cold conditions at the Kotla. They will, however, have solid support from the Baba brothers — Aparajith and skipper Indrajith –, all-rounders Vijay Shankar and Washington Sundar along with seasoned pacer Sandeep Warrier.
Having lost to Maharashtra by nine wickets in the opening match and conceding a first-innings lead to Assam after scoring more than 400, Delhi are in dire straits having lost their entire pace-bowling attack to one injury or the other.
If Mayank Yadav tore his hamstring and veteran Ishant Sharma sustained a side strain, Navdeep Saini is in NCA with an abdominal muscle strain.
Worse, the team’s most dependable pacer Simarjeet Singh has been ruled out in pacer-friendly conditions due to a heel injury.
Last season’s captain Pradeep Sangwan, who was initially dropped, is also out of the mix and coach Abhay Sharma is trying to put up a brave front.
The sixth one in the fray, Harshit Rana, is too raw and there is a possibility that Tuesday’s attack will comprise of left-arm quick Kuldip Yadav, rookie pacers Prince Yadav and medium fast Divij Mehra.
“We don’t have our main bowlers and that is definitely an issue but we would like to control the sessions. The youngsters who would get opportunities should make full use of it,” Sharma, a veteran domestic coach, who has also worked as fielding coach with the Indian men’s side, told reporters on the eve of the match.
One of the tough but prudent calls taken by the DDCA and its selection committee is to drop Kolkata Knight Riders batting star Nitish Rana, who hasn’t done anything in red-ball cricket in the past two seasons due to his questionable technique.
Besides, many in the corridors of the DDCA feel that his focus has solely been on playing the IPL because of his million-dollar contract and representing Delhi had become secondary.
While dropping Rana has been termed a welcome move by many, a lot of the issues plaguing the Delhi Ranji team could be attributed to the lack of foresight on the part of Gagan Khoda’s selection committee and not naming the team in advance.
“You had no pre-season camp, no proper training session and fast bowlers were highly under-cooked. There was no planning, no vision and what has now happened is exactly what was supposed to happen without systems in place. Some of the pacers were unfit before the season and (after) their return,” a senior DDCA official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Tamil Nadu will hope to field first and use the overcast conditions to run through a Delhi batting line-up where only Dhruv Shorey (double century and hundred in the last game vs Assam) and Himmat Singh have shown some stomach for a fight.
Skipper Yash Dhull, batting at No. 3, hasn’t been able to do much while Anuj Rawat’s technique against the moving ball at the start is a bit dicey.
With dense fog and thick cloud cover during this time of the month, it can be said with some degree of certainty that 90 overs per day will be a distant possibility.
(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)