Ranji Trophy: Given limited resources, Delhi did well - coach Bhaskar

Frontline bowlers’ poor returns cited as one reason for Delhi's failure to qualify for Ranji Trophy knockouts for a second successive season.

Delhi Ranji Trophy

Pacer Ishant Sharma (in picture) played two of Delhi's Ranji Trophy group-stage matches.   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

After being a credible finalist, Delhi failed to reach the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals for a second season in succession. The reasons for this slide were not hard to seek. The infamy of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) is just one of them.

With Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant on national duty, Delhi had the services of Shikhar Dhawan for just one match while speedsters Ishant Sharma and Navdeep Saini were available for two. Add to this, injuries suffered by bowlers like Pradeep Sangwan, Vikas Tokas, Pawan Suyal and Vikas Mishra meant Delhi played much of the league stage with a second string team.

No wonder, Delhi could win only two games — both at home. Compared to the previous season when Delhi finished with 14 points, this year the tally stood improved to 21.

Read: Kohli: Good to see Ishant bowling with pace

“For me, that jump of seven points is nothing but a zero because we did not qualify,” reasons Delhi’s coach K.P. Bhaskar, the soft-spoken man who guided Delhi to the final two seasons ago during his first stint.

Key moments

“Given the limited resources we had throughout the season, I think we did well. I know, had Delhi played a few key moments better, held on to a couple of more catches, especially in the slip-cordon, a place in the last-eight was not beyond us.”

A look at Delhi’s bowling performances throws up only one name — Simarjeet Singh. The hard-working seamer took 31 wickets from seven matches. Ishant (11) and all-rounder Kunwar Bidhuri (10) were next best.

“For a team to do well, at least three of your bowlers have to account for 20-25 wickets each. Unfortunately that was not the case,” says Bhaskar.

Delhi’s batting suffered owing to the inconsistency of the top-order. Nitish Rana and skipper Dhruv Shorey, the batting mainstay, had their moments but could not finish with a flourish.

Lack of faith

Another key factor was the lack of faith shown by the Delhi selectors in some of the players. Kunal Chandela, fellow comeback-man Kulwant Khejroliya, Lalit Yadav, Vikas Mishra and Subodh Bhati were among those dropped for different reasons. This, in turn, led to a sense of insecurity in the unit.

Looking forward, Bhaskar says, “There are a number of talented players, both at under-23 and senior level. If Delhi teams can travel to play in tournaments, say in the southern part of the country or even play abroad, this move could help the youngsters a great deal. With more self-belief to go with their immense potential, Delhi stands to gain a lot more.”

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :