A re-definition of roles

Round two of the Ranji Trophy gave enough reasons for both Delhi and Baroda — teams scheduled to face each other in the third round from Saturday at the Ferozeshah Kotla — to celebrate. For Delhi, coming off a loss in their first round game against Uttar Pradesh, garnering seven points against Orissa was vital while Baroda had to content themselves with three points against Vidarbha in the second round. Baroda's three points in the previous round against Karnataka means both sides are within a point of each other in Group B which is already looking cluttered at the top.

In the last two games, it has been the fast bowlers from either side who have been among the wickets, with the spinners claiming only 12 wickets so far. The reason has been the wickets. Both Baroda and Delhi have played on tracks that have helped the fast bowlers, who have used the assistance to make the early sessions count, while spinners — Delhi's Vikas Mishra and Baroda's Bhargav Bhatt — have been employed mainly to contain runs from their respective ends.

Despite not being wicket taking options, the spinners remain integral to the sides and Baroda coach Sanath Kumar made it certain that Bhatt will remain his only spin option, while it is unlikely that Delhi too would want to fiddle around with their spin choices — Mishra and Manan Sharma.

Bhatt rocketed to limelight after his 2010-11 season scalping 47 wickets in nine Ranji games and made his presence felt in the IPL for Kings XI Punjab too. However, with the BCCI's recent directive to prepare tracks that assist pacemen, how are the spinners dealing with their new roles?

"I am aware of the fact that my role in this team is to contain runs on wickets lively enough to support fast bowlers. Our coach keeps telling me that my role is to focus on the basics, reminding me that the following the basics can never go wrong at any stage. So far, we have played on quick tracks and I am happy that I performed well according to my role," says the 22-year-old Baroda spinner.

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