New Delhi, Nov. 9 -- The second round of the Ranji Trophy matches will be less on the glamour quotient as the India players, who featured in the opening games, are off to attend the national camp in Mumbai, which also starts on Friday.
But this round will also be without other prominent players who are nursing injuries.
Baroda's Irfan Pathan, Uttar Pradesh's Praveen Kumar and Mumbai skipper c - their teams' leading seamers - will miss out due to injuries. And Ashish Nehra's fitness problems don't allow him to play two back-to-back first-class matches. Nehra played Delhi's last game and won't be available this week.
The three-day gap between the first and second games is not enough for the bowlers to recover. Although these bowlers will miss out, batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan, the in-form opener who narrowly missed making it to the India squad, will look to cash in. He will be leading Delhi against Odisha.
After a fabulous start to the first-class season, where he notched up two tons in two Duleep Trophy matches while leading North Zone, Dhawan had just a dip that left him out of the selectors' radar.
The left-hander wasn't available for India 'A' as their warm-up game against England coincided with his marriage. He represented Mumbai 'A' in the visitors' second warm-up tie, but after a good start fell for 27 in the only innings the home team got. "Yes, I am a bit disappointed not to convert that start, but I have no worries as I had a good start to the first-class season," said Dhawan.
No doubt, the next few matches will be very important for him. "We'll take it match by match," he said. Delhi will, of course, be without the quartet of Sehwag, Gambhir, Ishant and Virat, who are back to doing national duty. In their absence, youngsters are expected to do the duty.
"We've got players who have done well and have scored centuries with the U-25 team recently," said head coach Vijay Dahiya. Milind Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Vaibhav Rawal and Dhruv Shorey, all in their early 20s, are in the squad though it is unlikely that all four will get to play, as the hosts already have Dhawan, Unmukt Chand, Mithun Manhas and Puneet Bisht in the squad.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.