Uphill task for depleted teams in Ranji match

Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Former champions Mumbai and Delhi will be looking to fill up the vacuum left by the exit of key players when they clash in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group 'A' opener starting here tomorrow.

The two sides have new leaders and some new talents after the exodus of ex-captains to neighbouring states. And it remains to be seen which one of them has the character toovercome the setbacks.

"It is challenging, and I am looking forward to it," said Nilesh Kulkarni, the former India spinner on taking over the leadership from Sairaj Bahutule who will be turning up forMaharashtra this season.

His counterpart Amit Bhandari echoed a similar opinion.

"It is a new challenge but things will look up as the season progresses. We are not dependent on individuals," the India pacer said as he prepared to lead Delhi in place of Ajay Jadeja who has moved to Rajasthan.

For Mumbai, it has been a sudden reversal of fortunes after winning back-to-back titles in 2002-03 and 2003-04.

The team would also be without fast bowler Munaf Patel who will be bowling in tandem with Bahutule for Maharashtra.Also missed would be Vinod Kambli and Robin Morris due to various injuries.

Kulkarni, who has the rare distinction of picking a wicket off his first ball in Test cricket, said his team can handle itself well.

"We have the attack but there is need to stick to the basics and gameplan," he said on the eve of the match at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground.

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