Delhi bolstered by Ishant pace, Mumbai miss Jaffer | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Delhi bolstered by Ishant pace, Mumbai miss Jaffer

Medium-pacer Ishant Sharma will join the Delhi Ranji Trophy side ahead of the Super League Group A game against holders Mumbai starting at the Wankhede Stadium the next day, reports G Krishnan.

cricket Updated: Nov 22, 2007 02:12 IST
G Krishnan

Medium-pacer Ishant Sharma will join the Delhi Ranji Trophy side on Thursday morning ahead of the Super League Group A game against holders Mumbai starting at the Wankhede Stadium the next day.

Sharma was earlier in the day included in the squad for the first Test against Pakistan in Delhi after RP Singh and S Sreesanth have been injured and were ruled out.

Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya said here on Wednesday: "Ishant will definitely join us. He will come here on Thursday along with captain Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. He was with us at the airport today (on way to Mumbai) and was asked to join the Test squad. I had a chat with the Indian team manager Lalchand Rajput and he said that those who do not make the playing XI would be released to play for their respective Ranji sides."

The strong Delhi side arrived here on Wednesday afternoon, their flight delay pushed their 3 pm scheduled practice session back by two hours. Dahiya put his players through fielding drills and in the fading light, their bowlers rolled their arm over, targeting the unguarded stumps.

While Delhi will be in full strength, Mumbai will badly miss their opener Wasim Jaffer. The elegant right-hander, on Test assignment against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla, has amassed 739 runs against Delhi in five appearances, averaging 147.80 with four centuries and a half-century. His sequence reads 58 (1996-97), 106 and 45 n.o. (2002-03), 24 and 117 n.o. (2003-04), 122 (2004-05) and 267 (2005-06).

"Wasim has always been a key player," Mumbai coach Pravin Amre told HT on Wednesday. "He is of the rare breed who scores consistently in domestic cricket. His consistency against Delhi had given us the upper hand. We will miss Jaffer but he is going on national duty. We do have the youngsters who will do the job as this is a team game."

In Jaffer's absence, India under-19 batsman Ajinkya Rahane will open the innings with Sahil Kukreja while Rohit Sharma, returning from the ODI squad, is expected to bat at number four.

"Rohit is the man in form and hope he continues that against Delhi. If he spends four hours in the middle, we will not miss Jaffer," said Amre.

From the other side, the 34-year-old Dahiya, who played till last season before being asked to take over as the coach this season, looked at Jaffer's absence as a missed opportunity for his young bowlers. "I would be very happy if Mumbai were allowed to field with only 10! But somebody else can score a hundred. If somebody like Jaffer is not there, our young bowlers will miss out on an opportunity to bowl at such quality batsmen."