Neutral venues are the theme of this Ranji Trophy season but Delhi would feel at home after Gautam Gambhir joined them ahead of their crucial Ranji Trophy group league match against Karnataka.
Karun Nair is set for his maiden captaincy after Karnataka captain Vinay Kumar was ruled out of the match due to a calf muscle strain suffered in their previous game. It was indicated that Gautam Gambhir too would take over the captaincy of Delhi from Unmukt Chand after joining the side along with Ishant Sharma.
The addition of Gambhir and Sharma makes Delhi a far stronger side than the one that took seven points against Assam and almost overcame Maharashtra’s first innings score of 635. “It is like home town for Gautam, he has been part of KKR for what, 7-8 years now? So yes, he has been giving us valuable inputs,” said Delhi coach KP Bhaskar.
Bhaskar however stopped short of expressing concern on the pitch. “We have been told the pitch is a new one. Can’t say more, match referee has asked us not to speak much about it before the game begins,” said Bhaskar before adding that there is a covering of grass on the pitch. The pitch for the India-New Zealand Test here was a bit of a risky venture with many deliveries either shooting up or staying low. Bhaskar however said they were braced to tackle the pitch.
“You got to understand that conditions are not entirely alien. Age group cricket takes these guys around, so Eden is definitely not an alien venue. They have an idea about what to expect - morning and afternoon breeze etc. Again, it is all about adaptability,” said Bhaskar.
Nair said their approach towards the match will be simple. “The first session every day will be very important. Whoever wins the first session will have a good day. So we will look to win the first session and take it from there. If we can settle and build big partnerships then a big score will come. Even if we do not gets runs on the board I think we have good enough bowlers to come back and take their wickets,” he said.