The Ranji Trophy enters its second week on Thursday with Delhi and Gujarat, two equally matched teams, locking horns at the Sardar Patel Stadium here. Apart from the points at stake for the teams, the match is also important for the skippers of both sides.
For Delhi captain Mithun Manhas, it would be his 100th first-class match, while for his counterpart, Parthiv Patel it would be another opportunity to show the national selectors that he is also doing all things right to make a comeback to the Test side.
Manhas looked unruffled on the eve of the personal milestone, but felt he still had it in him to play at the highest level. “It means a lot to me to be playing my 100th game for Delhi, but my preparation is the same. I would just like to score here. My motivation is still to get an India cap,” said Manhas.
Not much worry
The domestic stalwart said he didn't believe in over-analysing the opposition. “There is no point analysing the opposition too much because then your mindset becomes a little negative,” he said.
Parthiv, fresh from a hundred in the Ranji opener against Bengal, too looked positive about his side's chances, though he said that there were no favourites. “We have a good mix of experienced and young players, but nobody (team) is favourite.”
Patel, who opens for Gujarat and has been performing well in ODIs, said it was a conscious move to bat up the order in domestic cricket.
“I was taken to the West Indies and England as third opener and since I have done well at the position, I want to continue batting there,” said Parthiv.
Delhi, who earned three points on the basis of first innings lead against Haryana in the last game, will look to play an almost similar side on a wicket, which has a red hue. The track is said to have good bounce and should be of sporting nature, according to locals.
Chauhan may play
Delhi could make one change in the playing eleven. Manoj Chauhan could come in place of left-arm spinner Pawan Negi. Gujarat, who have one point on the board, have included three new players in the squad.
Avi Barot comes in after a double-century in an U-22 game, while the other two are all-rounder Jeshal Karia and left-arm spinner Anupam Patel.
Parthiv who? Valsad not in awe of star
This might happen to players who play a sport other than cricket in India. This could also happen to those who have not played international cricket. But, it is rare that someone of the stature of Parthiv Patel goes unrecognised — that too in his home state.
Parthiv, who has recently played quite a few ODIs and done well, was there at the Station Road here for about half an hour, but hardly anyone recognised him. After nets, he went out to have lunch with a teammate. The two walked about a kilometre with hardly anyone noticing them.
They came back without anyone mobbing them or asking for autographs.
A boy tried hard to recognise the wicketkeeper batsman but finally gave up. “I think I have seen him somewhere but can't remember where,” said Jaidev, the youngster.