Virender Sehwag was recently left out of the India's 30 man probables list for the ICC World Cup 2015 © Getty images
Virender Sehwag was recently left out from India’s 30 man probables list for the ICC World Cup 2015 © Getty images

New Delhi: Dec 6, 2014

One of India’s finest batsman Virender Sehwag, at the business end of a glorious career, will again be the primary attraction as Delhi host Saurashtra in an opening round encounter of the Ranji Trophy on a Roshanara Club track here from Sunday.

Delhi team management and especially skipper Gautam Gambhir’s fascination for playing at the Roshanara Club ground is well documented but Saurashtra coach and domestic legend Shitanshu Kotak was pleasantly surprised after having a look at the strip which bore a partially bald look.

“When they shifted the game to Roshanara, I thought they wanted to give us a green-top. But this is not a green top, I would rather say a sporting wicket where batsmen will get runs and the spinners will also come in the picture,” Kotak told reporters ahead of the match.

“The Roshanara track in which I last played in 2009-10 season probably was a green-top. Again when I played institutional cricket for PSPB, it used to be flat deck. This is somehow in between so it’s difficult to predict an outright result,” said Kotak, who has played a record 21 seasons for Saurashtra, in Ranji Trophy.

The question that was doing the rounds today was whether Delhi’s team management couldn’t get what they expected from the Roshanara curator as the “22-yard strip” looks different from what has been provided over the years.

Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya, on his part, said they are planning to play five specialist bowlers with off-spinner Shivam Sharma and left-arm spinner Varun Sood also in contention for a berth in playing XI. Dahiya said veteran Rajat Bhatia would be looked “more as a batsman”.

With Unmukt Chand opening with Gambhir, Sehwag, wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht, Bhatia are the certainties. In case they play five bowlers, the toss-up for the sixth batsman will be between right-hander Milind Kumar and Vaibhav Rawal. Rawal’s inclusion might see Sehwag batting at No 4 while Milind’s inclusion can push him upto No 3.

The three pace bowlers will be Parvinder Awana, who has a knack of picking wickets on unresponsive tracks, left-armer Pawan Suyal, who is replacing Pradeep Sangwan, and Sumit Narwal, who is handy with the bat too.

For Saurashtra, their strength is a bunch of utility cricketers ranging from Chirag Jani to opener Sheldon Jackson, youngster Arpit Vasavada, glovesman Sagar Jogiyani to name a few. The bowling department has experienced Siddharth Trivedi and Sudeep Tyagi, who had played four ODIs for India at the start of the decade.