Ranji Trophy: Delhi takes on Andhra in crucial tie

At the end of three matches, Delhi is placed at seventh spot with four points and Andhra a slot below at two points.

Delhi seamer Khejroliya is yet to recover from chicken pox and will miss the Ranji tie against Andhra.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The absence of Ishant Sharma, Navdeep Saini and Kulwant Khejroliya is hurting Delhi as the home team prepares for a crucial Ranji Trophy match against Andhra starting on Wednesday.

Following defeat at the hands of Punjab on home turf last week, Delhi is bound to feel the pressure of scoring an outright win against an opposition which is not at its best strength either.

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“Delhi has never believed in grooming talent,” lamented former Test bowler Manoj Prabhakar, who was the senior team’s bowling coach last season when the team finished runner-up in Ranji Trophy and won the Mushtaq Ali tournament. Bowling was Delhi’s strength with Prabhakar providing the required guidance.

As Prabhakar pointed out, “Bowling is not just completing your quota. Wicket-taking is an art which an individual develops over a period of time. Unfortunately, in Delhi, there are no decent bowling coaches and it makes all the difference when the team plays first-class cricket.”

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Ishant and Saini are busy with India duty in Australia and New Zealand respectively while Khejroliya is yet to recover from chicken pox.

The state selectors have brought back Subodh Bhati into the squad but the team is unlikely to play two seamers since the focus is on preparing a spinner’s pitch. “You must play to your strength. If you have good spinners then fine but do you have good spinners,” asked Prabhakar. The team has Vikash Mishra, Varun Sood and Shivam Sharma as the frontline spinners.

Bhui holds the key

Andhra will also be without Hanuma Vihari and K. S. Bharat, both away with the India and India À’ teams. The defeat against Kerala was a setback to Andhra’s campaign. R

Ricky Bhui carries the burden of batting on his trusted shoulders. At the end of three matches, Delhi is placed at seventh spot with four points and Andhra a slot below at two points.

The teams:

Delhi: Dhruv Shorey (Captain), Gautam Gambhir, Sarthak Ranjan, Vaibhav Rawal, Jonty Sidhu, Kunwar Bidhuri, Hiten Dalal, Anuj Rawat, Simarjeet Singh, Subodh Bhati, Vikas Mishra, Varun Sood, Shivam Sharma, Lalit Yadav and Shivang Vashisht.

Andhra: B. Sumanth (Captain), Ashwin Hebbar, D. B. Prashanth Kumar, Ricky Bhui, Siva Charan Singh, P. Girinath Reddy, I. Karthik Raman, B. Ayyappa, Mohammad Shoaib Khan, K. S. Sasi Kanth, N. Jyothi Sai Krishna, G. Manish, C. Stephen, Karn Sharma and K. S. Bharat.