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Weather biggest rival as Delhi face Punjab in a must-win tie

Press Trust of India
Dec 21, 2013 at 05:16pm IST

New Delhi: More than Yuvraj Singh battling it out with the likes of Virender Sehwag, rival sides Delhi and Punjab are concerned about the foggy conditions which may be the biggest impediment to an outright win in the 7th group league Ranji Trophy game at the Roshanara.

The poor visibility during the last week of December has always been a problem in Northern India and BCCI's shoddy scheduling of matches added insult to the injury.

Delhi with 19 points from six games and Punjab with 17 from an equal number of outings are currently placed fourth and fifth respectively in group A. Only an outright win in this game would brighten their chances to make it to the quarter-finals and the weather is likely to play spoilsport.

Weather biggest rival as Delhi face Punjab in a must-win tie

A file photo of Virender Sehwag. (Getty Images)

"We had requested the BCCI to schedule our matches in such a manner that the final few games during the last week of December are away matches. We wanted to play at home during the earlier phase," a worried chairman of selectors Chetan Chauhan told reporters on the eve of the match Saturday.

Even Punjab coach Bhupinder Singh (Sr) feels that if 70 overs are possible each day, it will be a good thing. "We have told the match referee and umpires that we are prepared for 70 over per day game. The track is a result oriented one and I hope that my boys have saved their best for the last," Bhupi Sr, as he is affectionately called, told mediapersons.

If weather and seaming strip are on the mind, the "poor facilities" at the Roshanara ground has irked the Punjab team management. While the home team Delhi has been provided with the big hall for dressing room purpose with proper security arrangements, Punjab team will have to make do with makeshift arrangements which doesn't even proper privacy for the players.

"We have also been told that once the day's proceedings gets over, the players will have to carry their kitbags and keep them in a separate room as the makeshift dressing room will be used by the club members in the evening. We told DDCA as to why they arranged it here when you had Kotla," an angry senior member of the Punjab team management questioned.

On the team front, while Yuvraj Singh is available for this game and had a knock at the nets, Harbhajan Singh is unlikely to play in this game as he still has some pain in his shoulder while bowling. "Don't rule me out as I am trying my best to recover in time for the match," Harbhajan said before being attended by the team physio.

While Mandeep Singh is again set to lead the side, VRV Singh also looks like a doubtful starter. In that case, Manpreet Singh Gony, Sandeep Sharma, Jaskaran Singh and Siddharth Kaul are likely to form the four-pronged pace attack. For Delhi, it is likely to be the same XI that played against Vidarbha with young Navdeep Saini getting another chance to prove his mettle on a helpful track.

The track for this game is a seamer friendly one although it's not as green as it was during the last game. Also BCCI curator Taposh Chatterjee has been sent to monitor the preparations so that there aren't any stoppages like it happened in the last game.

"My job is to see that all specifications are followed. I will be leaving tomorrow for Lucknow," said Chatterjee, who had topped BCCI's Curators' Exam last year.

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