Impacted by breakdown of pacers, depleted Delhi take on Assam
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Guwahati: Seven-time champions Delhi will be struggling to field their playing eleven following the frequent breakdown of their pacers when they take on hosts Assam in the Ranji Trophy here on Tuesday.

The team management, including the senior players and support staff, are not amused by the breakdown of their pace bowlers, raising questions about their fitness and preparation methods.

The opening fixture against Maharashtra saw debutant Mayank Yadav, Simarjeet Singh and veteran Ishant Sharma getting injured in the middle of the match, contributing to the team’s nine-wicket loss from a winning position on a track assisting the fast bowlers.

Simarjeet was making a comeback from injury but hurt his ankle and could only bowl two overs in the second innings. Ishant and Yadav, who both are back in Delhi, did not bowl at all in the second innings.

In a rare positive for the team, Simarjeet has been declared fit for the game and Delhi have also flown in three pacers — Harshit Rana, Divij Mehra and Kuldeep Yadav — for the crucial clash. Harshit could be picked in the eleven for the game starting Tuesday.

Besides the iffy fitness of their pacers, questions have also been raised on the team’s preparation for the premier domestic event. The squad was announced three days before their tournament opener with the young Yash Dhull given charge of a team trying to regain its lost glory.

Delhi’s last Ranji title came way back in the 2007-08 and their last final appearance was in the 2017-18 season.

“The coaches as well as the senior players are not happy with how some of the young pacers have broken down at the start of the Ranji season. Similar problems were faced during the white-ball tournament as well.

“It is clear something is wrong with the pacers’ training method,” a DDCA source told PTI.

It also remains to be seen if Ishant, who suffered a sidestrain against Assam, returns to play for the team.

For the veteran of 105 Tests, a lot is riding on the IPL auction later this week. If he is not picked by any of the 10 teams, the motivation to play at the domestic circuit might not be the same.

“He is a champion player but you can’t go on forever. Post the IPL auction, Delhi would obviously want him in the team but it will be totally his call,” the source added.

Assam, who conceded first innings lead to Saurashtra in their opener, will sense a real opportunity against a depleted Delhi line-up.

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