Top stars to strengthen Delhi Ranji squad

Sehwag, Gambhir and Kohli are available for the team’s opening Ranji match.

With the England Test series round the corner, Indian players want to make maximum use of any opportunity they get of getting used to the longer format of the game. And nothing could be better than the premier domestic tournament — the Ranji Trophy.

Although international cricketers prefer to rest in-between hectic international schedules rather than turning up for their state teams, players like Zaheer Khan and Sachin Tendulkar have already made themselves available for Mumbai’s first Ranji outing. Following in their footsteps are Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma.

Delhi provides four of the top 15 Test cricketers in the country and all of them are looking to make their presence felt when Delhi face Uttar Pradesh in the opening match from November 2 in Ghaziabad.

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Vijay Dahiya — back as the coach of Delhi after a hiatus of three years — feels it will be an excellent opportunity for youngsters to rub shoulders with the stalwarts.

“I am really excited to be back as coach of the Delhi team. I had requested the Delhi and District Cricket Association for a break and am glad they understood. But coaching Delhi has always been a privilege and with top stars making themselves available for the opening match, it will also be a good experience for the youngsters who don’t often get to play with international cricketers due to their schedule."

“With the four-Test series against England round the corner, I also feel that the matches will provide good training ground for the top stars as they have been playing the shortest format mostly — barring Ishant,” he told MAIL TODAY. Having coached most of the players in his previous tenure, Dahiya feels the bunch should do well in the tournament.

“Thankfully, the crux of the Delhi team has been same for the last three-four years and I feel they play as a team and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It always helps if you stick with the same bunch of boys and I strongly believe that we will do well in the Ranji Trophy this season,” he said.

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