New Delhi: A confident Delhi, riding on their back-to-back outright victories, will like to prove that they are a force to reckon with even in the absence of pacer Ishant Sharma as they take on Bengal in their Ranji Trophy cricket match here on Thursday.
Ishant, whose presence in the two matches which Delhi won, did intimidate the opposition, especially Vidarbha who were decimated by the lanky speedster.
But India's Test specialist suffered a hamstring injury in the last match against Haryana and has been rested keeping Test series against South Africa in mind.
Ishant is likely to be replaced by Navdeep Saini, who is coming back after recovering from stress fracture.
The Delhi team under skipper Gautam Gambhir has been experimenting and is likely to blood young Under-19 keeper-batsman Rishabh Panth, who many in Delhi cricketing circles consider as one for future. Panth replaces Mohit Ahlawat who had a torrid time, having failed to score in both innings.
Seamer Sumit Narwal is also supposed to come back on a track which would provide even bounce with the ball expected to keep low during the last two days.
Narwal might replace Sarang Rawat in the playing XI.
Since the ball is likely to keep low during later stages, left-arm spinner Man an Sharma, who got 11 Haryana wickets in the last game, will play a key role.
Bengal will play opener Partha Sarathi Bhattacharjee in place of Abhimanyu Easwaran.
A lot will depend on skipper Manoj Tiwary, who had started the season on a good note with scores of 103 and 83 in the first two games.
"Ishant's absence will help us as he is in prime form of late. Now that he is not there, there's not much difference between two sides," Tiwary said.
He said that he might play four bowlers in Ashoke Dinda, Veer Pratap Singh, Aamir Gani and Pragyan Ojha.
The middle order will be manned by Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, Pankaj Shaw.