An exciting fare on the cards as Delhi takes on Bengal

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Ranji Trophy season opener Super league tie between Delhi and Bengal here Monday holds promise of an exciting fare with two well-balanced sides fighting it out on a pitch that is serving a one-year ban on hosting international matches since January.

Delhi, with a new coach in former India player Manoj Prabhakar, will be hoping to improve on their last year’s semi-final appearance.

The strength of the team will be the pace quartet of Parvinder Awana, Sumit Narwal, Pradeep Sangwan and Pawan Suyal. Delhi relied heavily on their pacers, who often made up for the lacklustre show of the batsmen to bring the team on the top.

Explosive left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan must be bolstered by his selection in the Indian One-day International side against Australia and would be hungry for some big scores at the domestic level to stay close to the international pack.

Virat Kohli, who cracked his third ODI century against Australia, would be looking to take advantage of his hot form.

But Delhi would certainly need the experience of captain Mithun Manhas and Rajat Bhatia in the middle order to provide solidity in the batting department.

The newly-laid pitch at Ferozeshah Kotla will attract a lot of attention. The fifth and final ODI between Sri Lanka and India here in December last year was called off midway through the first session due to a dangerous pitch.

Following investigation, the Internatinal Cricket Cojncil (ICC) said no international cricket would be staged at the stadium for one year until the condition of the track was improved. The stadium has, however, hosted Indian Premier League matches.

Prabhakar, who two seasons ago was the bowling coach when Delhi won the Ranji Trophy, said adaptability will be the key for both the teams.

“It is a typcal Kotla pitch which will have slow and low bounce, but it is fresh wicket. The first hour of the match will be crucial.”

“Our boys have done well in the Twenty20 tournament. Hopefully the results are going to show in Ranji Trophy as well,” he said.

Like Prabhakar, it will be a new assignment for Bengal coach Woorkeri Venkat Raman, former India batsman and Tamil Nadu player.

Raman will have a balanced and experienced side which did not do justice to its talent reserve last season.

Bengal were impressive, but could win only a solitary match wasting some of the opportunities that came their way.

Raman would be looking to infuse that killer instinct in the team that has a new captain in Manoj Tiwary.

“We have some tough teams like Mumbai in our group and people are calling it a group of death, but I see it as a group of opportunity,” Raman said.

Mumbai, Saurashtra, Railways, Gujarat, Assam and Tamil Nadu are the other teams in the group.

Apart from Tiwary, the Bengal batting would revolve around Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Wriddhiman Saha.

Bengal’s pace bowling attack will be in the safe hands of Ranadeb Bose, who grabbed 28 wickets last year, and Ashok Dinda, while veteran all-rounder Laxmi Ratan Shukla would be playing freely after being bogged down by the captaincy controvresy last year.

The pace and spin combintaon of Bose and Saurasish Lahiri shared 46 wickets between them in the last season.

Young right-arm medium pacer Shami Ahmed, who took eight wickets in the Twenty20 tournament, could get a look in.

Raman also said the morning hour could be the most productive session.

“The first session will be important. A lot will depend on how the morning session goes, after that I don’t see the bowlers getting much help from this pitch.”

Asked whether he had any special plans for Kohli, Raman said: “There are no special plans. In first class matches, one can say anything only when the ball gets rolling.”


Bengal: Manoj Tiwary (captain), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Arindam Das, Abhishek Chaudhary, Arindam Ghosh, Abhishek Jhunjunwala, Ranadeb Bose. Ashok Dinda, Shreevats Goswami, Saurasish Lahiri, Anustup Majumdar, Iresh Saxena, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Shibsagar Singh, Shami Ahmed.

Delhi: Mithun Manhas (captain), Aditya Jain, Puneet Bisht (wicket-keeper), Chetan Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rajat Bhatia, Shikhar Dhawan, Gaurav Chabra, Chetanya Nanda, Parvinder Awana, Sumit Narwal, Mayank Tehlan, Pradeep Sangwan, Pawan Suyal,

Vikas Mishra.

Filed under: Cricket

will not be displayed