The Delhi coach, Vijay Dahiya, summed up the nature of the contest well. “You don’t get too many chances to play against an international side, so this is a big thing for the team. Sometimes you have to win the Ranji Trophy to get a big game like this. More than the conditions, it’s the opposition. I always believe that when you get runs against an international side it always counts,” he said on the eve of the Delhi-England XI warm-up match here on Monday.
Gautam Gambhir, in search of form, spent time in the ‘nets’ while Virender Sehwag kept his option of playing on Tuesday open. Dahiya confirmed neither of the two would be seen in action but you never know with Sehwag. He loves playing with his Delhi mates.
The day-night match, to be played at Ferozeshah Kotla, should give the home players an insight into the English camp.
Dahiya expected the teams to shed any apprehensions about the pitch and play with a positive mind. “I don’t think anyone expected this would be a 170-run game. The way Pakistan batted is a mystery to me. Everyone knows the way Bhuvneshwar bowls, and if you’re still playing just standing inside the crease and doing nothing — it’s unbelievable. You can get out for a low score — one team may get out for 160 tomorrow also, but I don’t think it’s that kind of wicket,” Dahiya said.
The Delhi coach was convinced that Delhi was better at four-day cricket than the shorter version of the game. “I don’t believe Delhi is a better limited-overs side than a four-day team. That’s the notion all around. If it were true, it’s good for us, because the next thing is the one-dayers! People tag you like that, and think we are ‘less disciplined’ for a four-day game. But I think things are changing.”
Dahiya confirmed that Pradeep Sangwan and Milind Kumar will not play. “We are still deciding between two left-arm spinners — Varun Sood and Pawan Negi. Only one of them will play. Ashish Nehra, Parvinder Awana and Sumit Narwal are in the XI.” Delhi captain Shikhar Dhawan agreed with his coach. “It’s a very big match for all of us. Playing against England is a big thing. Personally too, I would love to score big. If I keep performing my name will be considered for the Indian side, and that’s my aim — to play for India for a long time.”
The home team prayed for a decent weather. “The difference in playing in such weather is that the ball swings the whole day. It’s difficult for batsmen to score. That’s why yesterday too there was a low-scoring match [between India and Pakistan]. It is difficult to field in these conditions,” Dhawan concluded.
The England team suffered a defeat at the hands of India ‘A’ at the Palam ground on Sunday and would treat this contest more seriously. Skipper Alastair Cook’s presence in this match could make the difference.
The teams (from):
Delhi: Shikhar Dhawan (capt.), Unmukt Chand, Mithun Manhas, Vaibhav Rawal, Rajat Bhatia, Jagrit Anand, Puneet Bisht, Pawan Negi, Sumit Narwal, Pradeep Sangwan, Parvinder Awana, Ashish Nehra, Varun Sood, Milind Kumar and Dhruv Shorey.
England: Alastair Cook, Joe Root, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Joseph Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Stuart Meakar, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Kevin Petersen, James Tredwell and Chris Woake.