Ranji Trophy 2013-14 preview: Gautam Gambhir-led Delhi take on confident Gujarat

Virender Sehwag (left) and Gautam Gambhir will hope to put in good performances in the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2013-14 © AFP

Surat: Nov 3, 2013

Buoyed by their comprehensive innings win over Vidarbha at Nagpur, Gujarat will take on a formidable Delhi team led by Gautam Gambhir, hoping for a similar performance to consolidate their position in Group A of Ranji Trophy.

Delhi will also have Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra, Unmukt Chand, Mithun Manhas and Rajat Bhatia in their ranks.

Gujarat beat Vidarbha by an innings and one run with a day to spare. Delhi’s opening match against Jharkhand in Jamshedpur was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rains and wet outfield and both the teams took a point each.

However, all eyes will be on Test discards Sehwag and Gambhir. The duo, who were overlooked by selectors for the upcoming home Test series against the West Indies, will be looking to score runs and prove their form to the selectors.

Gambhir, in particular, will look to utilise his stint with county club Essex to force his way back into the team, while Sehwag, who looked a tad leaner this season in Delhi’s earlier outings in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, will look to score runs to be in the selectors’ radar.

“All players are fit and available for tomorrow’s match,” Delhi coach Sanjeev Sharma said.

Gujarat, whose bowlers routed Vidarbha for 85 in the first innings, will bank on their seam and spin attack for a similar performance against the star-filled Delhi side.

Jasprit Bumrah impressed in his Ranji debut picking up seven wickets in the match while paceman Rush Kaleria and left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruv grabbed five wickets each in the first and second innings respectively.

In the batting department, skipper Parthiv Patel, who scored a brisk 65, will look for a big score.

However, it would be interesting to see at which position Parthiv bats. Against Vidarbha, he came in at number four, a change of strategy from last year, when he opened the innings.

This season, Smit Patel opened with Samit Gohel in the match against Vidarbha. Smit top-scored in the match with a patient 73.

Manprit Juneja, who missed out in the opening match, will aim to get some runs under belt after a good showing against the New Zealand A team earlier this year.

An official statement released by the Gujarat Cricket Association said that two changes have been made to the 15-member Gujarat squad for the match against Delhi and the third encounter against Karnataka at Bangalore.

Priyank Panchal and Akshar Patel have been replaced by Rujul Bhatt and Saul Yadav, the statement said.