Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Dhawan, Ishant return for Delhi's clash against Hyderabad

In two rounds, Delhi has one point to show after escaping with a draw against Kerala and loss to Andhra. Hyderabad is at the bottom of the points table.

Hyderabad can draw solace from the fact that though Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma are back, the opener has not done anything of note this season in white ball cricket while the speedster is returning from injury.

Hyderabad can draw solace from the fact that though Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma are back, the opener has not done anything of note this season in white ball cricket while the speedster is returning from injury.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Two struggling former champions - Delhi and Hyderabad - face-off on Christmas Day in search of some vital points to stay in contention for a knock-spot in this season’s Ranji Trophy tournament.

In two rounds, Delhi has one point to show after escaping with a draw against Kerala and loss to Andhra. Hyderabad lost to Punjab and Gujarat to bring up the rear of the points table.

Delhi, hosting its first match of the competition, hopes to make the most of the services of skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma.

However, though Navdeep Saini was available for the match, he indicated on Tuesday that he preferred to rest before the matches against Sri Lanka. The trio will not be available for Delhi’s next match against host Punjab.

With cold conditions prevailing in the Capital, with the breeze making it worse, Hyderabad players begin with a distinct disadvantage. That apart, Hyderabad can draw solace from the fact that though Dhawan and Ishant are back, the opener has not done anything of note this season in white ball cricket while the speedster is returning from injury. How an understandably-cautious Ishant copes up with the workload remains to be seen.

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So far, the batsmen of Delhi and Andhra have proved a big letdown. While Hyderabad has not crossed 300 in four innings so far, with 76 being the lowest, Delhi has crossed the figure just once to salvage a draw against Kerala.

Delhi’s bowling and fielding has been the worst-hit areas so far. In allowing Kerala and Andhra to stack up impressive scores in the first innings, the dropped catches, specially in the slip-cordon, played a big part.

In spite of Delhi’s below par performances so far, Delhi’s coach K. P. Bhaskar was optimistic of the team getting its act together this week.

“Playing at home always helps and with Shikhar and Ishant back for a game, I expect Delhi to perform to its potential. I understand that this Delhi has several young players and with time, they should mature into cricketers worthy of playing at the highest level.”

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