Ranji Trophy: Delhi faces confident Saurashtra

Despite lying in the bottom half of the points table with a single win in seven games, Saurashtra is upbeat ahead of its concluding Ranji Trophy league encounter against Delhi in Vadodara.

Sitanshu Kotak..."We will go for a victory, so that our team can finish higher [in the points table]."   -  Vivek Bendre

Saurashtra may be sitting at the bottom half of the points table with a single victory in six games, but gauging by the confidence of its coach Sitanshu Kotak, the team is upbeat ahead of its Ranji Trophy tie against Delhi in Vadodara. After all, it defeated Karnataka, among the strongest teams in the competition, with its back to the wall last week.

“We matched a tough side like Karnataka, went on to beat them. Delhi is a difficult opponent, our team is more confident now of taking on any side,” explained Kotak, known for gritty batting in his prime.

Kotak has admitted its stars, who away for India duty, will be missed. “Pujara and Jadeja can never be replaced. You don’t get replacements for players scoring 100s, taking 10 wickets cannot be replaced, we were aware of the situation and have capable reinforcements,” he said.

“We will go for a victory, so that our team can finish higher [in the points table],” he added.

Kotak suggested his team was strong to cope with a variety of conditions. “The talk in domestic cricket that ‘give Saurashtra a green top and they will crumble’. I tried to change that impression. We worked in pre-season to build a new ball attack and there are wicket-taking bowlers in the squad. The batsmen learnt to survive in wet and damp conditions we faced at certain venues,” he said.

Both sides trained at the venue in the morning. Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan were supposed to join their Delhi teammates later in the day.

With two wins and four draws after seven games, Delhi needs maximum points in the concluding league tie to be in the race for qualification from Group B, which is led by Jharkhand and Karnataka.

Teams:

Delhi: Gautam Gambhir (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Unmukt Chand, Rishabh Pant, Dhruv Shorey, Manan Sharma, Milind Kumar, Navdeep Saini, Nitish Rana, Pawan Suyal, Pradeep Sangwan, Pulkit Narang, Sumit Narwal, Varun Sood, Vikas Tokas.

Saurashtra: Jaydev Shah (capt), Deepak Paunia, Divyaraj Chauhan, Hardik Rathod, Jay Chauhan, Jaydev Unadkat, Kamlesh Makwana, Kishean Parmar, Kushag Patel, Prerak Mankad, Samarth Vyas, Shaurya Sanandia, Sheldon Jackson, Snell Patel, Vandit Jivrajani, Arpit Vasavada, Amitoze Singh.

Umpires: K Srinath, K N Ananthapadmanabhan. Match referee: Prashantkumar Mohapatra.