Minnows, leaders in an unequal tussle | india | Hindustan Times
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Minnows, leaders in an unequal tussle

The gap that separates the two sides could not be humongous. On one end is Jammu and Kashmir, a team composed of players who have no real ambition and have resigned themselves to their fate.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2006 02:51 IST

The gap that separates the two sides could not be humongous. On one end is Jammu and Kashmir, a team composed of players who have no real ambition and have resigned themselves to their fate. Their display in their last two outings would lend credence to the argument.

The players from Kashmir Valley are here to make up the numbers. And after surrendering with insouciant ease to lesser mortals of Delhi and Services, on Tuesday they confront the might of Punjab -- a team at the zenith of its prowess -- at Harbaksh Stadium.

Punjab are perched at the top of the North Zone table and are sure-shot qualifiers for the knockout leg, barring some last-minute calamity, which is hard to envisage at the moment going by their imperious form. Punjab dovetailed all three aspects of the game to vanquish Haryana in their first match and then got the better of Delhi team -- if one can be have the temerity of calling it that -- in their second outing.

Cool, unruffled and supremely confident of their abilities, besides being led by magnetic skipper Dinesh Mongia, Punjab would be looking to inflict further damage on their hapless opponents.

The return of fast-bowler VRV Singh would add more steel to Punjab's already very potent attack and is likely to send shiver down the J&K batters' spine.

VRV knows that he will be the cynosure of all eyes, particularly with national selector Bhupinder Singh Sr touting him as one for the future, and an eye-catching performance in the tournament would go a long way in hustling his comeback to the National side. For J&K, they would be hoping that Tuesday turns out to be just that kind of a day that renders cricket the adage of game of glorious uncertainties. But then to realistically expect anything like that would be hoping against the very hope.

Squads

Punjab: Mongia (capt), Reetinder Sodhi, Ricky, Dharmani, Kaul, Sohel, Sharma, VRV, Gagandeep, Uniyal, Hardavinder, Ishan, Rajesh, Sanwal Sarabjeet.

J&K: Dhruv Mahajan (capt), Arshad, Singh, Sameer, Datta, Mayank, Naseer, Fayaz, Abid, Inderjeet , Pawan, Javed, Bisati, Imtiyaz, Vivek, Shashi, Shafqat Baba and Abid Salam.

First Published: Feb 14, 2006 02:51 IST