With two battle hardened veterans at his disposal, it will be young Nitish Rana who will lead Delhi in their Ranji Trophy opener against Himachal Pradesh, from Monday.

Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma, the two senior players are currently at different crossroads in their respective careers.

Having relinquished captaincy, Gambhir will certainly keep an eye on Rana, who will have his first tryst with the senior team leadership. He has been made captain for the first two games.

“I am a bit nervous but I am happy that seniors like Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma are there to guide me during my first match as captain,” Rana told reporters on the eve of the game.

This is a Delhi team with an average age of 25 barring the two senior players and it will be an opportunity for them to repeat the impressive show of Vijay Hazare Trophy, where they ended runners-up to Mumbai.

It will certainly be a blessing in disguise to play a lightweight Himachal Pradesh in the opening game. Himachal have already played a game against Bengal at home and conceded the first innings lead to the visitors.

However, Delhi will have their fair share of worries including the non-availability of opener Kunal Chandela, who had an impressive maiden season in last edition.

He is out with a fractured forearm and Hiten Dalal, who has played seven List A matches so far with good returns, is expected to make his first class debut. Hiten will be opening alongside Gambhir.

The new ball is expected to be shared by Ishant and left-arm seamer Kulwant Khejroliya. The choice for a spinner will be between left-arm orthodox bowlers Varun Sood and Vikas Misra. The latter will have an advantage as he had played most of the matches last season.

For Himachal, a lot will depend on their top order batsmen Prashant Chopra, Nikhil Gangta and keeper Ankush Bains.

It is the bowling which is a problem for Himachal Pradesh. An attack comprising Shresth Nirmohi, Pankaj Jaiswal and Rishi Dhawan doesn’t inspire much confidence.

Dhawan, their premier wicket-taker is a medium bowler, who is usually rendered ineffective when the pitch offers little help. It could well be the case on a placid Feroz Shah Kotla pitch.