New Delhi: All eyes will be on Ishant Sharma as India's pace spearhead is expected to come out all guns blazing for Delhi against a seasoned Vidarbha side in the second group league encounter of the Ranji Trophy, in New Delhi on Thursday.
Ishant, who is serving a one-Test ban for his aggressive outbursts during the third Test against Sri Lanka last month, has confirmed that he will be playing at least two Ranji Trophy matches for Delhi to get into the match-mould.
"I will also be playing the next match against Odisha (October 15-18) at the Kotla. I don't know about the match after that (vs Bengal at Kotla from October 22-25). I have been doing my regular training. I am fully fit and ready for the match," a pony-tailed Ishant told PTI, as he prepared to leave Kotla after a two-hour training session.
Ishant will be replacing Parvinder Awana in the starting line-up which is expected to have a couple of debutants. Delhi's chief coach Vijay Dahiya said they would be blooding 20-year-old right-arm seamer Sarang Rawat, who has impressed one and all at the nets, along with left-handed batsman Nitish Rana, who has scored a lot of runs at the age-group level. Pawan Suyal and Yogesh Nagar will make way for the debutant duo.
Interestingly, only last week, BCCI banned Rana from playing age-group cricket as an FIR was filed against him for being over-age. However at the senior-level there are no such compulsions, which will see him make his first-class debut having played a few list A and T20 matches for senior team back in 2013.
"We have decided that in order to build a team, we have to try out all the youngsters. Youngsters learn not by sitting in the dressing room but when thrown in at the deep end of the pool. Also my pace bowlers are getting older and I need to manage them well. In this match, Awana and Suyal are being rested and down the line, we will also rest Sumit Narwal," Delhi coach Dahiya, who is back in charge, told media persons ahead of the match.
Asked about the pressure on him after replacing Ajay Jadeja as coach, the former India stumper said, "There are 11 players, who would play for Delhi. It does not matter who is the coach. A team always remains whether the coach is there or not. If I am here today, it is because the number of people who want me in that Delhi dressing room is in double digits. But yes, it's not about players but there is a general lack of trust in Delhi cricket which needs to change."
For Vidarbha, much will depend on their skipper Subramanium Badrinath, senior pros Wasim Jaffer and Ganesh Sathish to take them through in the absence of Umesh Yadav, who will be joining the national team for the ODI series.
"We have Faiz Fazal and Amol Jungadhe coming into the team. Amol Jungadhe is a pacer, who will replace of Umesh," Badrinath said.