Ranji Trophy: Depleted bowling attack a worry for Delhi

Kulwant Khejroliya has been ruled out because of chickken pox. Simranjeet Singh is the lone specialist fast bowler in the Delhi squad for the match against Punjab.

Delhi will rely on its batting to overcome the challenge of Punjab in the crucial Ranji Trophy tie in New Delhi.   -  K.V.S. Giri

Delhi takes on Punjab in a crucial Ranji Trophy match here with growing concerns regarding its bowling strength. Even as Yuvraj Singh joins Punjab to give boost to its batting line-up the home team grapples with the lack of variety in its bowling.

The absence of Gautam Gambhir in the last match against Hyderabad had hurt the Delhi batting but the stalwart returns to the squad, which will have the services of Nitish Rana and Himmat Singh for this match before they join the Indian team for the Emerging teams Asia Cup in Sri Lanka next month.

In a blow to the Delhi attack, left-arm seamer Kulwant Khejroliya has been ruled out because of chicken pox. The selectors, at the request of the team management, agreed to include all-rounder Kunwar Bidhuri, who is expected to make his first-class debut. Bidhuri had impressed with a century against Gujarat in the last C.K. Nayudu Trophy match.

Left-arm spinner Vikas Mishra will lead the spin challenge for Delhi along with left-arm Varun Sood and off-spinner Pulkit Narang or Lalit Yadav. The focus would be on the spinners since Simranjeet Singh will be the lone specialist fast bowler. The desperate measures by the selectors to find a good partner to share the new ball with Simarjeet did not yield any results.

“We have to make the most of what is available. We are going to miss some key players this season but I hope the youngsters step up and grab the opportunity,” said Delhi coach Mithun Manhas.

Punjab has dropped seamer Barinder Singh Sran, who played in the first two matches and would expect leg-spinner Mayank Markande to exploit the helpful pitch at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

In keeping with the umpires’ exchange programme, Australia’s Shawn Craig would be Rohan Pandit’s partner for this match.

The teams (from):
Delhi: Nitish Rana (Capt), Gautam Gambhir, Himmat Singh, Sarthak Ranjan, Dhruv Shorey, Vikas Mishra, Hiten Dalal, Anuj Rawat, Simarjeet Singh, Lalit Yadav, Kunwar Bidhuri, Pulkit Narang, Varun Sood, Gourav Kumar, Vaibhav Rawal.
Punjab: Mandeep Singh (Capt), Yuvraj Singh, Abhishek Sharma, Jiwanjot Singh, Gurkeerat Mann, Mayank Markande, Abhishek Gupta, Siddharth Kaul, Vinay Choudhary, Anmolpreet Singh, Sanvir Singh, Arpit Pannu, Sandeep Sharma, Baltej Singh, Shubek Gill.