Delhi hold edge as Baroda set to miss skipper Yusuf Pathan
New Delhi: Hosts Delhi will like to consolidate their position in Group B as they take on a depleted Baroda side in the third round Ranji Trophy encounter at the Feroz Shah Kotla from Saturday.
Having lost their first match against Uttar Pradesh with a full-strength side, a relatively younger side led by Shikhar Dhawan made amends against minnows Odisha by getting seven points and are now second in the points table behind UP.
Delhi side will be boosted by the presence of their `Man for all seasons` Rajat Bhatia and the crafty Ashish Nehra who wil be coming into the playing XI.
Baroda, on the otherhand, will be missing their skipper Yusuf Pathan who had sustained a finger injury and has been ruled out of this game.
With their star all-rounder Irfan Pathan also going out for a month due to knee injury, the onus will be on seasoned pro Ambati Rayudu who will be leading the side in Yusuf`s absence.
"Obviously they (Pathan brothers) are big players and their absence will be felt but we need to learn to live without them. There are times in the past when Baroda have played without them. We have some quality players who are expected to do well," coach Sanath Kumar told the reporters on the eve of the match.
For Delhi coach Vijay Dahiya and skipper Shikhar Dhawan, the bone of contention will be the player whom Nehra will replace.
"Rajat is coming back in place of Mohit Sharma but we haven`t decided who will be the other player whom Ashish will replace," Dahiya told reporters.
It can be one of the left-arm spinners between Vikas Mishra or Manan Sharma but even India A pacer Parvinder Awana is not a certainty.
"We had decided at the start of the season that we will be rotating our pacers. Pawan Suyal bowled brilliantly in the last match and Narwal has had a consistent all-round performance. We will also rest Narwal but not now," Dahiya kept cards close to his chest.
"Awana is also a match-winner in his own rights but Delhi side is not about making statement to national selectors. That combination will play which is the best in the interest of the team."