WITH AS many as five players away on national duty, Delhi have had to shuffle things around a bit for the Ranji one-dayers. The senior selection committee of the DDCA on Saturday picked a 17-member squad for the limited-overs tournament that starts on February 26
With Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag playing in Australia and Virat Kohli captaining the under-19 squad in the World Cup at Malaysia, Delhi would depend on the trio of Aakash Chopra, Mithun Manhas and Shikhar Dhawan to get the runs.
The three would be looking for assistance from the likes of Mayank Tehlan, Aditya Jain and the ever-reliable Rajat Bhatia. While there are no new faces in the batting line-up, the selectors have had opted for a couple of new spinners. Offie Suhail Sharma and left-arm spinner Manan Sharma have been drafted in to bolster the spin department, which is led by Chetnya Nanda.
According to coach Vijay Dahiya, both Suhail and Manan made it to the squad because of their ability to use the long handle to good effect.
"Both are good bowlers and can give the ball a real whack at the death, that played a big role in their selection," Dahiya said.
"Every team looks for utility players in the shorter version, and these two can fit the bill," he added.
While Suhail has been in the reckoning for a while now, Manan, who is the son of former Delhi skipper Ajay Sharma, has made it to the senior team for the first time. All of 19, and with very little one-day experience behind him, Manan's inclusion could be termed a brave move.
"Agreed he is a little light on experience, but he has shown the right temperament and deserved a chance," was what Dahiya had to say about the selection.
"He is one for the future and is a long-term investment."
As far as the fast bowlers are concerned, the absence of Pradeep Sangwan - also in Malaysia - could blunt Delhi's most potent weapon. Whether that actually happens, will depend on how fit Ashish Nehra is. Out of action for more than a year, Nehra will be integral to Delhi's fortunes.
The squad begins practice on February 18 at the Kotla.
Players selected for the one-dayers:
Mithun Manhas (captain)