While there was plenty of satisfaction amongst the Delhi team when they reached the final of the 2011 edition of the CK Nayadu (U-22) Trophy,that had been tempered with a realisation that the challenges the squad realised the next year would bring. With many members of the team on the brink of the the 22-year barrier,the next step would necessarily have been breaking into the Ranji squad – something far more difficult than making a mark in the age group tournaments.
The answer to those struggling to figure out how to shape their careers came with the BCCI’s decision to scrap the U-22 tournament and replace it with a U-25 one. And with Delhi set to start their U-25 season against Tamil Nadu at the Ferozeshah Kotla,on Thursday,the members of last year’s U-22 squad received another boost with the decision being made to field that very same squad for the new tournament.
And while the competition is set to far tougher than a purely age group one with 3 first-class cricketers allowed in each team,the selectors have shown immense confidence in the younger players,including Milind Kumar (capt),Sunny Sehrawat and Rishit Saini who were also part of the CK Nayudu last year.
“We have a similar outfit this year as well. We are very confident because we know how all of us have played and what combination suits us as a team. And it is a good opportunity for all of us as we have got three more years to stick to the board cricket,” feels Milind Kumar,who had scored a century in his debut Ranji Match against Gujarat,last year.
Delhi owed their success in the CK Nayudu Trophy to their pace attack,which comprised of Rishit Saini,Vikram Dahiya and Sunny Sehrawat. All of them will likely be in action against Tamil Nadu. Equally posing a challenge will be left arm spinner Varun Sood’s,who has himself had senior squad experience,having played the one day matches last season. For an all-rounder,Delhi has Manan Sharma.
The only new addition comes in Rahul Yadav who will boost the middle order. Although he didn’t play last season,he has scored a double century two seasons back when Delhi featured in the plate group. “Rahul’s inclusion will be a big boost. He is a wicket keeper who can also be played solely as a batsman. We have Arjun Gupta who kept for us last year and played some very important knocks lower down the order,” says captain Milind Kumar.
And while his teammates promise much,Milind accepts that things wont necessarily be easy. “Having the same team doesn’t ensure that we will end up with the same performance as last time. Compared to last season,the other teams are going to be much stronger. But we do hold en edge mentally as we ended as runners up and we are going to utilise that advantage to the best of our abilities,” Milind said.