New Delhi, Nov. 17 -- Delhi's 15-member squad was reduced to 13 with their third round game barely off the blocks on Saturday.
A blow before the game and one an hour into it pegged the hosts back. As they prepared to take the field on the first day of their Ranji tie against Baroda, batsman Yogesh Nagar was on the sidelines with his ankle covered in kinesiology tapes.
Nagar was returning from an injury and a twisted ankle on Friday forced him to sit out. As a result, Delhi could send a list of just 14 names for the match.
Ace paceman Ashish Nehra then flattered to deceive. The seasoned left-arm, who plays only alternate games since his body can't take the load, had got rest in the previous game.
But after bowling just six overs, he limped off the field. Delhi had fielded five seamers, including all-rounder Rajat Bhatia, who was also back from injury.
Rookie spinner Manan Sharma instead of first choice Vikas Mishra completed the attack.
With so many seamers available, skipper Shikhar Dhawan opted to bowl in a bid to exploit the early morning moisture.
The plan backfired as Baroda, through Aditya Waghmode and then through the classy Ambati Rayudu (83*) and Abhimanyu Chauhan (82*) reached 252 for 3 at stumps.
Delhi's chairman of selectors, Chetan Chauhan, told HT. "We have noted it (Nehra going off). We'll talk to him and the team management and discuss it in the selection panel. Appropriate action will be taken."
The Delhi management faced problems last season as well over Nehra's fitness. Just before a key game against Bengal in Kolkata, Nehra opted out saying he can't play two matches in a row.
A desperate Delhi had to cut out Nehra's name from the team list at the last minute.
Rayudu and Chauhan played beautifully. They paced their knocks well and have added an unbroken 143 for the fourth wicket after Bhatia struck twice.
Scores: Baroda 252/3 (A Rayudu 83*, A Chauhan 82*)
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.