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Delhi looking to write a new tale

Sacking of the chief coach 48 hours before a game is never good news but for the Delhi Ranji team, who will be playing their first game of the season against Haryana on Thursday, the departure of Manoj Prabhakar didn't seem to have had much of an effect. Shalabh Manocha reports. Squads

cricket Updated: Nov 03, 2011 01:45 IST
Shalabh Manocha
Shalabh Manocha

Delhi-s-Shikhar-Dhawan-and-Mithun-Manhas-plan-the-course-of-action-against-Haryana-during-a-training-session-at-the-Roshanara-Club-on-Wednesday-HT-Photo-by-Sanjeev-Verma

Sacking of the chief coach 48 hours before a game is never good news but for the Delhi Ranji team, who will be playing their first game of the season against Haryana on Thursday, the departure of Manoj Prabhakar didn't seem to have had much of an effect.

The Prabhakar episode is the latest in Delhi cricket, which is never short of controversies and distractions. The former champions have four players in the India ranks and Shikhar Dhawan in the Ranji squad played ODIs this season but such aspirations are not always reflected in the management.

The permanent chaos in administration can also be judged from the fact that the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) was late in announcing the probables and coaches of teams in different age categories as well.

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The Delhi players, who practiced in the first half of Thursday, warmed up playing a game of handball and were in a jovial mood. At the nets, bowlers Pradeep Sangwan and Parvinder Awana were asked to bat first, to warm up before taking up the bowling duties.

Delhi assistant coach Sanjeev Sharma, who has taken over from Prabhakar after the DDCA bosses sacked the former all-rounder for his media outburst against some of the players, was satisfied the team's preparations.

Although Delhi won't be a full strength side because many of their players will be doing national duty in the Test series against West Indies, captain Mithun Manhas was also left explaining the controversial axing of Prabhakar.

"It's our responsibility now to take the side forward. It's not that when he was around our responsibility was any less but we need to come together as professional players."

Delhi have a decent blend of youth and experience in the batting but their bowling doesn't seem to be their strong point with little support for senior medium pacers Sangwan and Awana on a green pitch which is expected to afford movement initially.

The skipper however was excited about young left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, who is expected to make his Ranji debut.

Delhi however has to decide whether they will play left arm spinner Vikas Mishra or go with an extra batsman as the track is expected to help the pacers in the first session.

Leg spinner and Haryana skipper Amit Mishra is one of the players who will have a point to prove, having been omitted from the India set-up like Harbhajan Singh.

"Though some of the big names are missing from Delhi, they are still a very strong side playing at home. So the pressure is more on them," Mishra said.

Haryana will be without the services of senior batsman Hemang Badani, who had played as a professional, while all-rounder Joginder Sharma is nursing a stiff neck. Mishra hopes the younger players will step it up.

"We have a young side. The good part is that most of the teams don't know their strengths. That should go in our favour."