Nehra, horse for the green course

With Delhi scheduled to face Karnataka in Bangalore on a green top in the sixth round fixture starting Saturday, it looks more or less certain that the visitors will play their senior paceman Ashish Nehra. The chairman of the DDCA selection committee, Chetan Chauhan, confirmed that Nehra will make the XI.

"The team management has told me that the Karnataka State Cricket Association is fielding a green wicket in Bangalore. On that account, Nehra will play a major role in Delhi's fight for six points. He is fit as well," Chauhan said.

Playing Nehra will no doubt bolster Delhi's attack, but it also raises a few concerns. Firstly, fitness has always been an issue with the 33-year old. The former India seamer has played in just two of Delhi's five matches, and in the second of these, against Baroda, left the field after bowling just six overs, citing a hamstring strain. He did not return to bowl. If Nehra is to suffer another breakdown, the Delhi side would be a bowler — a pacer — down in helpful conditions.

There is also the fate of Nehra's replacement. After the first match against Uttar Pradesh, Nehra missed the Orissa match and then played the third against Baroda. Pawan Suyal was his replacement from the Delhi U-25 squad.

The 23-year-old left arm pacer fit well in Nehra's shoes and picked up 12 wickets in three matches. At Lahli, on a track that assisted spin from Day One against Haryana, Suyal warmed the bench as spinner Manoj Chauhan replaced him. However, it wasn't that fast bowlers couldn't manage wickets.

Mohit Sharma of Haryana scalped six wickets in the match while Sumit Narwal and Parwinder Awana bagged a five-wicket haul each. Suyal's inclusion might have turned the tide in Delhi's favour, especially considering his replacement, off spinner Manoj Chauhan, gave away 110 runs and picked up just two wickets in the low scoring game.

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