NEW DELHI: Plagued by injuries to its top five point guards and the elimination of IPL star from the squad Nitish Ranaa shambolic Delhi will start as an underdog in its own lair against a formidable Tamil Nadu in a Ranji Trophy Group B play here on Tuesday.
The team whose locker room looks like a medical facility will face a full-fledged Tamil Nadu side with N-shaped pair Jagadeesan and Sai Sudharshan facing a real test in chilly conditions at Kotla. They will, however, have strong support from the Baba brothers – Aparajith and skipper Indrajith – the all-rounders Vijay Shankar and Washington Sundar as well as seasoned pacer Sandeep Warrier.
After losing to Maharashtra by nine wickets in the opening match and conceding a first innings lead to Assam after scoring over 400 runs, Delhi are in dire straits after losing their entire bowling attack to a injury or another.
If Mayank Yadav tore his hamstrings and veteran Ishant Sharma suffered a lateral strain, Navdeep Saini is in NCA with an abdominal muscle strain.
Worse still, the team’s most trusted pacer, Simarjeet Singh, was ruled out on pacer-friendly terms with a heel injury.
Last season’s captain Pradeep Sangwan, who was initially ruled out, is also ruled out and coach Abhay Sharma is trying to show some courage.
Sixth in the scrum, Harshit Rana, is too rough and it’s possible Tuesday’s offense will include fast left arm Kuldip Yadav, rookie point guards Prince Yadav and moderately fast Divij Mehra.
“We don’t have our main bowlers and that’s certainly a problem, but we would like to control the sessions. Youngsters who have opportunities should take full advantage,” Sharma, a veteran national coach, who has also worked as a coach for Indian men’s team, told reporters the day before the match.
One of the tough but cautious calls made by the DDCA and its selection committee is to drop Kolkata Knight Riders batting star Nitish Rana, who has done nothing at red ball cricket for the past two seasons due to his questionable technique.
Also, many in the halls of the DDCA believe that his focus was solely on playing the IPL due to his million dollar contract and representing Delhi had become secondary.
Although Rana’s abandonment was described as welcome by many, many of the problems plaguing Delhi Ranji’s squad could be attributed to the lack of foresight on the part of Gagan Khoda’s selection committee and failure to name the team in advance.
“You had no pre-season camp, no proper training session and the fast bowlers were very undercooked. There was no planning, no vision and what happened is exactly what was supposed to happen without systems in place were unfit before the season and (after) their return,” a senior DDCA official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
Tamil Nadu hope to be first on the pitch and use the cloudy conditions to navigate a Delhi batting line-up where only Dhruv Shorey (double century and a hundred in the last game against Assam) and Himmat Singh showed stomach for a fight.
Captain Yash Dhull, batting at No. 3, was unable to do much while Anuj Rawat’s technique against the moving ball early on is a bit dicey.
With dense fog and thick cloud cover at this time of the month, it’s safe to say that 90 overs a day will be a remote possibility.



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