Delhi geared up to defend their Ranji title

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Delhi's victory in the Ranji Trophy earlier this year was their first in India's Premier domestic tournament in 16 years.

Updated: September 13, 2008 18:10 IST
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New Delhi:

Delhi's victory in the Ranji Trophy earlier this year was their first in India's Premier domestic tournament in 16 years. After years of below average performances, merry go round with the Captaincy and even coming close to relegation, the appointment of former India wicket keeper Vijay Dahiya as Coach turned around their fortunes. Now they are looking to build on their performances and successfully defend their trophy.

Virender Sehwag's ankle seems to have healed, Ashish Nehra's finally free from injuries and Akaash Chopra can't wait to get back to the crease. The Sun is finally shining on the Capital's Ranji team.

Delhi know that the next few weeks are crucial for them as they begin the defence of their Ranji Trophy title. First they face Pakistan's domestic champions in the Mohammad Nissar Trophy, a prize both Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh have won in the last two years as India's domestic champions and they face their biggest test, a virtual India test side as the domestic season gets underway with the Irani Trophy in Baroda.

"If my memory serves me correct, I have never seen a Rest of India team as strong as this. But if you look at it from our point of view it's a brilliant opportunity for us. It's virtually the best side and that's the thing, if you perform in front of a team like that everyone is going to talk about it and that's what you need. For me this is a game of confidence and as a individual or as a team you have a good start against a team like this what more can you ask for," Vijay Dahiya said.

Delhi will be looking to get off on the right foot but defending their title won't be easy.

"When you come in with the tag of defending champions, there are a lot of expectations. You start the season a lot earlier. As champions you have two extra games to perform, two extra big games to show what you are capable off. The team's looking really good and we have everybody available and that's a good thing for us," the Delhi coach added.

The only disappointment has been the non-inclusion of their top performers in the India A squad for the Tri-Series vs Australia & New Zealand. But another good season with the bat and ball and keeping these lads out will be a tough task.

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