Ghaziabad: Delhi captain Virender Sehwag and his opening partner Gautam Gambhir`s form will be keenly assessed when a formidable Delhi side take on Suresh Raina-led Uttar Pradesh in the opening group league match of the Ranji Trophy.
Sehwag, whose every move for the past few days, have been closely followed by the Indian media will like to make a point against a more than decent UP attack comprising of three quality swing bowlers in Praveen Kumar, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Sudeep Tyagi before the beginning of England Test series.
It will be interesting to see whether Sehwag, who of late has wanted to bat down the order tries to experiment. During today`s net session, he came into bat after Unmukt Chand, Gambhir and Virat Kohli and spent considerable time at the nets.
Praveen and Tyagi can get the ball to talk in these conditions and a slight possibility remains that Sehwag may try and make the batting order a bit flexible as he has another sepcialist opener in Unmukt readily available.
His partner Gambhir also had a decent hit out in the nets. With another heavyweight in Kohli and the extremely talented Unmukt in their ranks, Delhi certainly are runaway favourites in this match although there might be an interesting duel between Ishant Sharma and Suresh Raina.
Veteran Ashish Nehra would also like to prove his detractors wrong and can prove to be a handful in these conditions.
It`s early winter in northern India and coach Vijay Dahiya admitted that there will be some help for the bowlers.
"The square (pitch) looks a good one and initially, the bowlers will get a bit of help in these conditions," Dahiya told reporters after training session.
Asked about the presence of so many stars, Dahiya said, "It`s the Delhi team that will be playing tomorrow. They have all become stars playing for Delhi and they always love to turn up when there is no international commitment."
A small centre has its own pros and cons and one can expect a full house of around 15000 people atleast during first two days.
The only problem with ground is the poor quality outfield which can cause injury to the players. It`s uneven and can cause injury while fielding. The India stars have to be a little careful since they have an important series against England coming up.
While DDCA vice-president Chetan Chowhan admitted that it`s not of "great standard", coach Dahiya felt it was okay.
"I am more concerned about the pitch and it`s fine," the former India glovesman said.