In a surprising turn of events, Unmukt Chand makes a return to Delhi T20 squad for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy Super League stage. The former India U-19 captain was dropped from the squad for the group stages after ordinary outings in the group stages of Ranji Trophy 2017-18. Chairman of selectors Atul Wassan said it was a cautious wake-up call for most of the players and they wanted to get rid of the complacency which was creeping in Delhi cricket.
“See everyone was getting complacent. We wanted to get rid of that complacency and hence took the calls of drafting youngsters for the group stage. They all did well and things panned our way as we qualified for the Super League stage. Both Unmukt and Milind (Kumar) are coming in for similar players (Sarthak and Himmat Singh) so it wasn’t a tough call,” said Wassan.
With the U-23 One-Day tournament clashing with the T20 Super League stage, the senior selection panel made an effort to strike balance between the two so that no player is wasted on the bench. The players who weren’t a certainty in the playing XI of the senior team have been demoted to the U-23 level. Only Lalit Yadav, who is also eligible for U-23, held on to his spot while Sarthak Ranjan, Hiten Dalal and Tejas Baroka were demoted to the Himmat-led U-23 squad.
“It’s a great place for Delhi cricket to be in. We now have replacement for every player ready and have identified our core lot too. The message to the rest is also loud and clear – we don’t need 30s or 40s or the odd fifty. We need players to be consistent and the ones who do the job for us when it matters,” said Wassan.
Mohit Ahlawat picked in U-23 squad
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Mor, who was one of the leading run-getters during Delhi U-23’s run in the CK Nayudu Trophy 2017-18 has been ignored for the one-dayers and has been replaced by Mohit Ahlawat. Ahlawat featured in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season for Delhi but was dropped after string of poor scores. He didn’t represent the state after that. The other wicketkeeper in the squad is Anuj Rawat, who according to Wassan is Delhi’s find of the season.
“Dinesh was more of a days player that’s why we have gone ahead with Ahlawat. Anuj Rawat, who has been our find of the season, will be the first choice keeper and Ahlawat has only been picked as back-up for him,” said Wassan.
Delhi’s U-23 lot played two trial matches before a four-day camp under coach Rajkumar Sharma. However, with players from the senior team coming to age-group, very few from the lot have made the cut. Talking about the players missing out, Wassan said it was nearly impossible to accommodate once the players from the T20 squad fit into the scheme of things for the U-23 age group.
“Where do we pick or accommodate them. There could be some changes/movements from U-23 to the senior team but that’s something we are not sure of as of yet. For now, this remains our core group and we have tried to pick the best person for the best role,” said Wassan. Asked about omission of Yash Sehrawat, who scored a double hundred in the CK Nayudu Trophy, Wassan said, “it was on a track where everyone scored runs, so one knock can’t’ pick you for all the matches. We are looking at consistency and want to give this message clear.”
The selectors have also rewarded Harsh Tyagi for his brilliant season with the U-19 team. He was picked for the Challenger Trophy too but failed to make it to the World Cup squad. The left-arm spinner picked 49 wickets in the season where Delhi failed to go beyond the quarters stage.
Delhi T20 squad: Pradeep Sangwan (c), Gautam Gambhir, Rishabh Pant (wk), Nitish Rana, Dhruv Shorey, Pawan Negi, Subodh Bhati, Kulwant Khejroliya, Navdeep Saini, Lalit Yadav, Milind Kumar, Varun Sood, Unmukt Chand, Vikas Tokas, Kshitiz Sharma
Delhi U-23 squad: Himmat Singh (c), Anuj Rawat (wk), Sarthak Ranjan, Hiten Dalal, Jonty Sidhu, Rajesh Sharma, Mohit Dalal, Shivank Vashisth, Tejas Baroka, Gourav Kumar, Simarjeet Singh, Ajay Ahlawat, Pranshu Vijayran, Harsh Tyagi, Vikas Dixit