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Wounded Delhi fancy their chances

Pragya Tiwari, New Delhi, Nov 8, 2012, DHNS

It was not the kind of start Delhi would have fancied to their Ranji Trophy season. A side full of stars, its loss to Uttar Pradesh has not only injured its pride but also posed a challenge to regroup the team without four top players. Up next for them is Odisha, whom they play at their home ground Ferozeshah Kotla on Friday.

In the absence of their key players, Delhi has been reduced to a young side comprising quite a few under-25 players. Left arm-seamer Ashish Nehra, too, won’t be available, though he will return later.

The good news for Delhi is the availability of Shikhar Dhawan, who missed the last match as he turned up for Mumbai A’s practice game against England. He will be leading the side for the rest of the season and his good form will be crucial.

Dhawan will be opening the batting with under-19 World Cup winning captain Unmukt Chand, for whom it is a crucial season, too, to stake his claim to the higher echelons of the game.

The Delhi middle order, apart from experienced Mithun Manhas and Punit Bisht, has options in Milind Kumar, Dhruv Shorey, Vaibhav Rawal and Mohit Sharma, all of whom have done well in the under-25 team. Among them, Mohit and Milind are likely to get a nod in the final XI. Another player from the age-group level, who can get a look in is Manan Sharma, a left-arm spinner with ability to bat too.

Delhi’s bowling, which looked ordinary against Uttar Pradesh, will have Pavinder Awana returning to share the burden of the new ball. With coach Vijay Dahiya already hinting at playing with three seamers, it is likely to be a fight between left-arm seamers Pawan Suyal and Pradeep Sangwan, with Sumit Narwal being the second bowler.

Dahiya said lack of discipline cost them the opening match and hoped to make amends. “We want to play our natural game and control it throughout. An outright win is not something on our mind. I am more focussed on how we go and play in this match,” Dahiya said.

“No team in the elite group is an easy opponent. Odisha are in elite and they certainly know how to survive and even win.”

The wicket has a green top and both the teams would look to exploit the early moisture. Odisha’s first match against Tamil Nadu was a wash out.

The team practiced on the grassy track at the nets with Basant Mohanty , Alok Mangaraj and slow left-armer Dhiraj Singh, the likely three bowlers.


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