Ranji Trophy: Punjab table players face the Delhi crisis in their territory

MOHALI: Record books give Delhi an advantage against Punjab in the Ranji Trophy . Delhi won 25 and lost only eight in the 69 general games against Punjab, with 36 games that ended in a draw. But it has been a contrasting season so far for both teams.

With two straight wins over Rajasthan and Hyderabad, and then a first inning against defending champion Vidarbha, this Punjab team is brimming with confidence. While, on the other hand, Delhi has had a mixed season. They conceded the first inning after a batter collapse against Kerala, before being hit by Andhra Pradesh by nine wickets. But his fortune changed against Hyderabad when they recorded a seven wicket victory, courtesy Shikhar Dhawan century and an eight wicket tour of Ishant Sharma at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

On Friday, when the Delhi team goes on the field against Punjab at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium, they will not have the services of Dhawan, Ishant and Navdeep Saini. Dhawan and Saini are in the Indian camp for the next T20I series against Sri Lanka, while Ishant has opted for this draw.

Interestingly, the two players Manjot Kalra and Kuldeep Yadav, who were supposed to replace Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma, respectively for this match have also been dropped due to separate reasons.

Manjot, who scored a hundred in the final of the last edition of the U-19 World Cup, received a one-year ban on alleged age fraud during his U-16 and U-19 days by outgoing Delhi and Ombudsman of the District Cricket Association (DDCA) Judge (Retired) Badr Durrez Ahmed. However, for the same offense, Vice Captain Nitish Rana has been fired for the moment with the search for more documents to prove that he had evaded his age at the junior level.

Pacer Kuldeep Yadav has also been suspended by the DDCA for allegedly misbehaving with an employee of a Kolkata hotel during his CK Nayudu Trophy match against Bengal.

There is a reason why cricket is called a knight game. One must be disciplined, it is a shame and a great loss for Delhi. Both are very talented and were online to play this game. This is also an administrative case and has been taken care of, said the Delhi coach Bhaskar Pillai , while talking with TOI.

We have been dealing with many injuries too. Pradeep Sangwan and Kulwant Khejroliya have not yet recovered from their wounds. This is virtually a very young team, few U-23 cricketers have been elevated to the senior team. My main focus is to channel the resources we have in our team, Pillai added.

From the current lot, Pillai has high hopes for his captain Dhruv Shorey, Nitish Rana, goalkeeper Anuj Rawat, Jonty Sidhu and fast bowler Simarjeet Singh.

Delhi selectors have chosen mid-order hitter Vibhav Kandpal and sewing bowler Siddhant Sharma on the team instead of Dhawan and Ishant.

Meanwhile, there are no changes in the Punjab squad. But there could be a concern in the Punjab camp as their first game Shubman gill He has a fever and has chosen to leave Thursday's practice session. He finally appeared later in the afternoon and was involved in an intense 15-minute discussion with the captain Mandeep Singh and coach Munish Bali.

The leader of the Punjab rhythm attack, Siddharth Kaul, has not yet recovered from an injury he suffered during his first Ranji match against Rajasthan.

On the availability of Shubman, Mandeep said: We will decide in the morning before launch, but at this time he has a fever.

While conversations drifted to the pitch, Mandeep called the pitch for the Delhi game a regular Mohali track.

It is a typical Mohali field. It will help fast bowlers in the morning due to conditions and after that it will be a hitter's paradise, Mandeep said. And he adds: I am very happy with the way we have played in this tournament so far. We are playing one game at a time and we will definitely try to win a victory against Delhi.