New Delhi: Dec 13, 2013
In their bid to stay on course for a quarter-final berth, hosts Delhi will come out all guns blazing against Vidarbha for an outright win in a Ranji Trophy group league encounter at the Roshanara ground in New Delhi on Saturday.
Delhi who are placed fifth in Group A, are on 12 points from five games while Vidarbha on 11 points are a rung below.
On paper, Delhi are a formidable outfit with captain Gautam Gambhir and senior pro Mithun Manhas in good touch having scored 409 and 419 runs respectively.
However Delhi’s problem has been Virender Sehwag‘s poor run of form which has now stretched to eight consecutive innings with only 113 runs to show for his effort with highest score of 44 in an inconsequential second innings.
His captain Gambhir is not really perturbed by his former opening partner’s poor form.
“Viru has been hitting the ball well in the nets and is one knock away from a big score. When he scores, it is normally a big hundred. I am not bothered about his form. As far as his batting number is concerned, it is his personal call,” Gambhir told PTI during an interaction on Friday.
Sehwag didn’t train at the nets on Friday but chief coach Sanjeev Sharma said that the veteran opener will be playing.
“Viru felt a little bit feverish today (Friday) and that’s why he skipped the nets. He is certainly playing tomorrow,” Sharma said.
While there are two pitches that have been prepared for this match, the final decision on the bowling line-up will be taken on Saturday.
If they play on the green-top which has been prepared, they might go with an all-pace attack which might have rookie paceman Navdeep Saini making his First-Class debut alongside trio of Ashish Nehra, Sumit Narwal and Parvinder Awana.
The 21-year-old right-arm seamer has impressed Gambhir in the nets but the final call will be taken on Saturday. In case Delhi opts for a hard-bouncy wicket with less grass, then left-arm spinner Varun Sood will continue in the playing XI.
The batting line-up looks more or less fixed with Unmukt Chand opening with Gambhir followed by Sehwag and Manhas.
Vaibhav Rawal and Rajat Bhatia will come in at No 5 and No 6 respectively while glovesman Rahul Yadav will be at No 7.
For Vidarbha, their hopes will be pinned on Faiz Fazal, who has scored 571 runs so far and Shalabh Srivastava who has got 446 runs. Their outstation recruits Hemang Badani and Rashmi Ranjan Parida have come cropper this season failing to get even 200 runs.
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