In Ranji Trophy, the best time to beat Delhi is now.
After Assam and Saurashtra showed the way, Andhra will be licking its lips in anticipation of a third victory in Group B when it faces a messed-up host at the Ferozeshah Kotla here from Tuesday.
With Delhi’s prospects of qualification effectively over after securing two points from four outings – as against front-runner Saurashtra (19 points), Mumbai and Maharashtra (16 each) – Assam (11) would love to get into the qualifying race with another victory.
Remember, last week, Delhi was reduced to 10 for seven in five overs of its first innings before Saurashtra cruised to a crushing victory with an innings and 214 runs. In contrast, Andhra drubbed bottom-placed Hyderabad by 154 runs.
Since that defeat to Saurashtra, the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) President Rohan Jaitley made no secret of what he thought of the selectors.
For this match, the list of 21 players previously chosen by the selectors has been pruned to 16 by the three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) comprising Gursharan Singh, Nikhil Chopra, Reema Malhotra along with skipper Yash Dhull, coach Abhay Sharma and the DDCA joint secretary Rajan Manchanda.
In the prevailing cold conditions, where toss could play a vital role, Andhra’s pacers K. V. Sasikanth (23 wickets) and K. Nitish Kumar Reddy (17) could prove a handful.
Delhi’s bowling has looked most ordinary this season but its lower-order contributed with the bat after some consistently poor displays by its batters, barring Dhruv Shorey (602 runs) and Vaibhav Rawal (257).
To end its winless run, Delhi will look to bowl first and catch Andhra in an unfamiliar territory. Should Andhra bowl by choice, Delhi could find itself in now familiar early trouble.