Virender Sehwag’s recent stint in the middle-order yielded no results © Getty Images


New Delhi: Feb 26, 2014


Virender Sehwag‘s preferred batting slot would be one of the primary issues when defending champions and hosts Delhi take on an upbeat Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the opening fixture of north zone leg of the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Thursday.


The match is being played amidst the tension between Gautam Gambhir and controversial pitch curator Venkat Sundaram.


The pitch as usual is a dead track and both Gambhir and Sehwag would like to get into the groove as quickly as possible.


This will be the last preparatory tournament before the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) begins.


While Gambhir is expected to open the batting, it will be interesting to find out whether Sehwag joins him at the top of the order. Sehwag’s stint in the middle order during Ranji Trophy yielded disastrous outcome.


So he will like to get back to the slot where he scored all runs for India. In case, Sehwag persists about playing in middle order, Unmukt Chand will partner Gambhir.


“We will decide the batting order after having a look at the strip,” chief coach Sanjeev Sharma said after training on Wednesday.


The bespectacled Sehwag had two sessions at the nets on Wednesday. His batting order might be an indication as to where he would bat for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in coming IPL.


The middle-order of Delhi bears a formidable look with veterans Mithun Manhas, Rajat Bhatia, young Milind Kumar to name a few. Pint-sized glovesman Puneet Bisht makes a comeback while Ashish Nehra, Parvinder Awana and Sumit Narwal will be three pace bowlers in Ishant Sharma‘s absence.


Left-arm spinner Varun Sood is expected to be the only specialist slow bowler.


On the otherhand, Jammu and Kashmir would like to put up a gutsy show after their quarter-final appearance in Ranji Trophy. Skipper Parveez Rasool is their mainstay but the likes of Ian Dev Singh, Adil Rishi, Bandeep Singh are also expected to rally around their skipper.


Meanwhile curator Sundaram on Wednesday turned up at the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) hearing which was also attended by Gambhir.


DDCA sports secretary Sunil Dev told PTI that “the matter has been amicably resolved”. However, as per information received, Gambhir didn’t apologise as Sundaram’s allegations that the Delhi skipper threatened the former first-class cricketer with a bat wasn’t proved.