SRINAGAR: Having had a terrific four-day cricket Ranji Trophy 2013-14 that saw them make it to the last eight stages for the first time, Jammu and Kashmir cricket team will start their 50-over cricket- Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014 for North Zone- campaign against star-studded Delhi at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground on Thursday.
It would be a battle between a team that is riding high on confidence on back of their sensational performance in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy season and a side that is loaded with some of world class players that have won many games for India over last decade or so singlehandedly.
The Parvez Rasool led J&K side would aim to draw inspiration from their unprecedented show in four–day cricket and improve their otherwise shoddy record in limited overs’ format over the years. The side would believe that they can do it this time around, for they have the players who have come of age this season, winning and saving the games from precarious situations more often than not.
Most of the playing eleven will feature players that were on the show in Ranji Trophy, but will have some new faces as well who will keen to make impression at the big stages.
Yet again, Parvez, the all-rounder, will be a star attraction and the likes of Samiullah Beigh, Ian Dev Singh, Hardeep Singh and Adil Reshi will be keen to enhance their reputation. A couple of players from the visitors will aim to use the stage to send the message of across to the Indian Premier League franchises what they missed by not bidding for them.
J&K had a terrible 50-over last season, losing all their fixtures and they would feel they are in better shape both as far as momentum and team combination go to improve on their past performances.
Having said that, J&K will have their task cut out as they are up against a side, tipped to progress in North Zone fixtures.
The hosts have a powerful batting lineup with skipper Gautam Gambhir and dashing Virendar Sehwag in the ranks. The duo-once linchpin of Indian top order-would use the tournament in their bid to woo Indian selectors after having a lean patch in Ranji Trophy.
Gambhir didn’t have a pleasing buildup to the fixture, having been involved in verbal duel with the curator and continued to be overlooked from all three Indian squads. He will be eager to send the statement across.
They have two Indian domestic stalwarts in middle order to give a formidable look to the batting department.
Delhi isn’t short on experience in bowling department either. Indian left arm pacer Ashish Nehra will be leading the attack and will have services of upcoming pacer Parwinder Awana to give stern examination to J&K batsmen. Ishant Sharma has opted out of the game, reasoning fatigue.
With early morning starts in cold Delhi weather, teams would look to bowl first and make use of moisture and movement that will be on offer. Both teams have the pace bowlers to make the ball talk in helpful conditions.
Delhi will be under pressure to deliver and same was echoed by Parvez. “I think we have nothing to lose. Delhi are favourites and they will be under pressure to perform. All eyes will be on Sehwag and Gambhir to deliver that gives us edge,” Parvez told Kashmir Reader over phone from Delhi.
The J&K skipper was in upbeat mood to repeat the winning show in the limited overs’ format. “We have done well in Ranji Trophy, obviously that hold us in good stead and I am hopeful we will compete and win this time around,” said the star all-rounder whose limited overs’ numbers aren’t that telling as his First Class stats are.
While both teams would want to have a winning start to the campaign, Delhi start firm favourites, but J&K, of late, have defied expectation to force result in their favour. Could Thursday would offer the same?
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
SAMIULLAH BEIGH: The fast bowling all-rounder was one of pillars that contributed to J&K’s success in the Ranji Trophy. He starred with the ball talking 35 wickets and did a terrific rearguard more than once with the bat, but, surprisingly and to his disappointment, he wasn’t picked by any IPL franchise. Beigh would be keen to make a statement and exhibit telling performances for his side. He would be vital again to help young pacers how to bowl to top class batters.
ASHISH NEHRA: Arguably India’s best death bowler after Zaheer Khan in last decade or so, left armer Nehra would be more than handful at Feroz Shah Kotla, for he has the ability to bend the ball both ways at a good pace. He still harbours hopes of making a comeback into Indian side and Vijay Hazare trophy provides him an opportunity to bolster his chances. His left arm angle and experience can hurt inexperienced J&K batting lineup big time.
J&K ONE-DAY SQUAD: Parvez Rasool (captain), Ian Dev Singh(vice captain), Samiullah Beigh, Adil Reshi, Zahoor Sofi, Sajad Sofi, Mohammed Mudasir, Imran Haroon, Wasim Raza, Bandeep Singh, Ram Dayal, Manish Dogra, Aditiya Pratap, Hardeep Singh, Raman Dutta, and Shubam Khajuria.
North Zone: Jammu and Kashmir versus Delhi
Venue: Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi
Time: 09:00 am