Ranji Trophy: Confident Delhi ready to face Vidarbha

With India openers Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir in its ranks, Delhi looks a formidable side as it gets ready to face Vidarbha.

Ranji Trophy top-scorer Rishabh Pant in action for Delhi against Rajasthan.   -  Special Arrangement

Set to play Vidarbha in the group-B match of round eight in the Ranji trophy on Tuesday here, Delhi is hyped up, and looks positive. Hype, as India openers Shikhar Dhawan and Gautam Gambhir are with the team; the team that already boasts of the top run-scorer — Rishabh Pant. Positive, as the squads strength, and the results till now, suggest the lower-placed Vidarbha a benign presence.

Shikhar Dhawan at ease was a pointer himself. “I like to have the free service that the team provides me,” he quipped when asked if he prefers to have a personal physiotherapist.

He said that his recent injury lay-off let him ease up, analyse his craft, and return afresh. “That was the eighth or ninth time I suffered a fracture in my hand. I reconciled to the fact that I can’t do much than take take rest, and enjoyed my time off. Otherwise, you end up getting frustrated, and it’s not going to get you anywhere. It helped me contemplate my batting too.”

When referred to a growing pool of adept opening batsmen for the National team, and how it feeds competition among them, he sounded secure yet wary. “It’s tough competition (for the openers’ slot). It’s nice that we’ve got many quality openers. It’s a healthy sign. One has to consistently perform well to stay in contention. But, it’s unfortunate that Rahul has got injured now.”

Just how the prolific Pant sounded. “I was batting (in a Ranji match) when the squad was announced. Later, I came to know that I was discussed. It’s good, and I’m working hard on both my batting and wicketkeeping,” the 19-year old said on getting considered by the National selectors for India’s second test versus England, and Kumble saying that Parthiv Patel got the nod on experience and wicketkeeping.

“But, as of now, I’m focussed on the Ranji trophy,” he added, lending relevance to the task at hand.

One of Vidarbha’s coaching personnel, Paras Mhambrey, lent more relevance. “It looks a good seaming track. I think it will help the bowlers initially. There’s enough grass, and I’m being told that there’s good carry as well. As the match progresses, it’s got to be a good wicket to bat,” he observed of the playing strip for the match.

“For us, it’s a very important game. We did well in the last game (an eight-wicket win versus Saurashtra at Delhi). On a flat wicket, we made a strong comeback to win. One more win here will obviously give us an outside chance to qualify (for the quarterfinals),” he said on the purpose of play.

Either team’s left with two games each, including the one on Tuesday, to place itself in the last eight, and whatever good showing any player has managed individually - especially Rishabh Pant - will be hard to access if the team fails, ideally.