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Railmen thrive on Delhi slip-ups

Barring Prabhakar, Wednesday did not bring forth any other sign of dissonance in the Delhi camp, reports Robin Bose.
Hindustan Times | By Robin Bose, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 24, 2007 07:11 PM IST

Unanimity seems to be the slogan in vogue among Delhi's cricketers and officials. Earlier this month, the selection committee of the DDCA took a mere 10 minutes to announce this year's Ranji squad, a rarity if one of the selectors is to be believed.

The top order, seniors and juniors alike, showed complete harmony while displaying total lack of application against the Railways seam attack on a Kotla green top on Tuesday. Going with the trend, coach Vijay Dahiya, remarked "that's okay" on his team being reduced to 50-5.

The only notes of discord, if it can be termed, on Day I of the 'friendly' two-dayer were Rajat Bhatia and Mithun Manhas stepping in to curb the rot and bowling coach, Manoj Prabhakar beseeching his wards to show more commitment.

Barring Prabhakar, Wednesday did not bring forth any other sign of dissonance in the Delhi camp as the bowlers went about emulating their batsmen.

"Yeh wicket Perth jaisa hai (This wicket is like Perth)," remarked Amit Bhandari. He may have said it in jest but the ineptness of Delhi's pace quartet comprising Bhandari, Pradeep Sangwan, Kuunal Lal and Pawan Singh on a track where the Railway fast bowlers had sent shivers down the hosts' spine, would have provided enough food for thought for the think-tank and selectors Vivek Razdan and Vinay Lamba, who were present to witness the final day's proceedings.

An optimist to the core, Dahiya continued with "we're doing fine" even after Delhi had failed to claim a breakthrough after an hour's play, but Prabhakar wore a resigned look. "When you are not bowling the right line and length there's nothing the wicket can do, which is equally conducive today.

"One can only talk to them which we have been doing so throughout the net sessions. I have been here for only a month and need more time to change their ways, be it advising them to keep the arm straight or bowling close to the wicket," he lamented.

The bowling in tatters, the butter-fingered fielders added further gloom by failing to latch on to quite a few sharp chances.

Allowed so much leeway, the battle-scarred Amit Pagnis was not one to let go his chances. Into his 13th Ranji season, the Railways opening bat shepherded his junior partner Siddharth Joshi through the opening overs and as the wicket settled down, the pair got into a rhythm and helped themselves to unbeaten centuries. So ineffective was the bowling that Pagnis helped himself to a few shots that took even his Railways teammates by surprise.

As his batsmen took the bowlers to task, coach Abhay Sharma watched with a slight smile, happy "the plans he had drawn were being executed to perfection".

Flanked by Murali Kartik, India's hero in the Mumbai ODI against Australia, Sharma was a picture of quiet confidence. "The batsmen were told play close to the body and restrict their shots to the V. Our plan worked as after the openers frustrated the bowlers, they started spraying the ball around which helped us to accumulate more runs," the diminutive coach remarked.

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