Race against time for Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir Virender SehwagThe main wicket that Gautam Gambhir took a look at on match eve has the potential to decide his immediate future and that of Virender Sehwag too (IE Photo Kevin D'Souza)

While he batted on the center practice wicket at the Roshanara Club, Gautam Gambhir would have glanced at the 22-yard strip on which the Group A game between Delhi and Haryana will commence from Thursday. The nature of the wicket is a dead giveaway of Delhi's strategy. The hosts will be banking on their medium-pacers, including Ishant Sharma, to help them register an outright win and bring about a change in fortune.

Delhi's strategy going into this game has been drawn up because they have managed just three points from the first three rounds of this season and need to bag maximum points against Haryana to stay in contention. The green wicket would have been closely observed by Gambhir and Virender Sehwag.

The main wicket that Gambhir took a look at on match eve has the potential to decide his immediate future and that of Sehwag too. On the fourth day of this game, the national selectors will pick the team that will tour South Africa for two Tests. While Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay are likely to retain their place at the top of the order, an overseas tour always has place for a back-up opener. Hence this match to be played on what looks like a lively track would be the last chance for the experienced openers to push for a place in the Test team that will travel to South Africa.

Runs on this wicket against a Haryana bowling attack minus medium-pacer Mohit Sharma, who is now part of the ODI side that will play West Indies, will catch the selectors' eye.

The Haryana attack will include Joginder Sharma, skipper Harshal Patel, Sanjay Budhwar and Sachin Rana, not the kind of bowlers who will pose a threat to an in-form Gambhir and Sehwag. But the runs haven't really been flowing for this duo.

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