New Delhi: Virender Sehwag will lead a full-strength Delhi squad against Uttar Pradesh in their first Ranji Trophy fixture to be played in Ghaziabad from November 2-5.
The team also includes Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Ishant Sharma, who are all expected to be named in India's 15-man squad for the first Test against England starting November 15 in Ahmedabad.
Sehwag and Gambhir were recently in action in the Champions League T20, turning out for Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively. The Ranji game, however, will allow the two a chance to spend some longer time out in the middle and at the crease ahead of the Test series against England.
Questions have been asked about Sehwag and Gambhir, whose overall numbers are mighty impressive because the two have recently been unable to match the high standards they have set over the years. Gambhir's last Test century came against Bangladesh in January 2010, while his average in the last two years is 30.31, a significant drop from his overall career average of 44.35. Sehwag's numbers don't inspire much confidence either. In the same period, Sehwag had one century at an average of 37.35, in sharp contrast to his career average of 50-plus.
Also included in the squad are Unmukt Chand, captain of the India U-19 team that won the World Cup in Australia in August, Parvinder Awana and Ashish Nehra. Mithun Manhas, the regular Delhi captain over the last two seasons will not be leading the side in the presence of more experienced players.
The only notable absentee is Shikhar Dhawan, the opener who will miss the first round on account of his wedding, but is expected to be back in the squad for the next round.