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Rediff.com  » Sports » All eyes on Kotla track as hosts Delhi take on Bengal

All eyes on Kotla track as hosts Delhi take on Bengal

October 31, 2010 15:59 IST

The ever controversial Feroz Shah Kotla strip will be the point of discussion during the next four days as hosts Delhi take on Bengal in a Ranji Trophy Super League match.

Although Delhi Daredevils played their home matches during the last edition of the Indian Premier League, it will be a newly laid Kotla strip where season's opening first-class match will be played. The strip will also give an indication as to how things will unfold in the lead up to the World Cup next year.

While Delhi boasts of some big names in domestic cricket such as Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Mithun Manhas, the Bengal team's performance will depend a lot on their talented captain Manoj Tiwary who is also their batting mainstay.

Rival coaches -- Delhi's Manoj Prabhakar and Bengal's W V Raman -- both felt that it will be a typical Kotla wicket, which will be low and slow.

"I don't see much happening after the first session on this track," Raman told reporters after his team's training session was over.

Asked whether it was tough for Bengal to play in a group which has both Delhi and Mumbai, the former Tamil Nadu and India opener said, "people might look at it as the Group of Death but for me it's a Group of Opportunities."

His counterpart Prabhakar, who knows the Kotla wicket like the back of his hand, also conceded that it will be a tough job for bowlers as they will have to bend their back on this kind of a track.

"Adaptability is the key. You can be provided with any sort of wicket but you have to know how to use the surface. Our boys have worked hard in all the departments and hopefully there will be results to show for," Prabhakar, who was the bowling coach when Delhi last won the Ranji Trophy during the 2007-08 season, said.

However, both coaches were not too keen to divulge the playing XI as they are yet to figure out the bowling combination.

For Delhi, it will be among the quartet of Parwinder Awana, Pawan Suyal, Pradeep Sangwan and Sumit Narwal that Prabhakar will have to choose from.

Although the former India all-rounder is all praise for young left-arm pacer Suyal but said it is still difficult to pick the right combination.

Among the spinners lanky left-arm slow bowler Vikas Mishra looks favourite to get a berth in the playing XI although one can't count out leggie Chetanya Nanda, who has got loads of experience.

The batting looks more or less assured with prolific opener Dhawan, middle-order mainstay Kohli, seasoned skipper Manhas all capable of scoring big on their day.

Chetan Sharma, who did well for Delhi in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, will open alongside Dhawan who missed Sunday's training session.

Any special plans for Virat? "Cricket is a team game, I suppose. You can't say or predict anything about a first-class game until and unless the ball starts rolling. Then only will you come to know that how things pan out," was Raman's curt response to the question.

The Bengal side, however, bears a settled look with almost all the batsmen picking themselves.

Arindam Das, Shreevats Goswami, Anushtup Mazumdar, Tiwary, former captain Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Wriddhiman Saha have a lot of spunk but they have often failed to convert the promise on big stage.

The bowling will depend largely on veteran seamer Ranadeb Bose and speedster Ashok Dinda. It will be interesting to see whether rookie medium pacer Mohammed Sami Ahmed, who picked up eight wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (East Zone), gets the nod although left-arm spinner Iresh Saxena still looks favourite considering the slowness of track.

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