NEW DELHI: Newly-appointed Delhi captain Ishant Sharma wants his players to shoulder responsibility as he feels the core of the current team is "fairly experienced" having played together for nearly four seasons.
The likes of Unmukt Chand, Manan Sharma, vice-captain Milind Kumar have all been around for some time now and Ishant is confident that the team will perform to its potential as they gear up for their Ranji Trophy group A opening round encounter against Assam, tomorrow.
"The dressing room atmosphere is good. We have had good preparation. This is a good team with a lot of young players. But they have been around for three-four years now and they have the experience. Now is the time to take responsibility. The first target is to reach the knock-out stage," Delhi skipper Ishant said on the eve of their opening game.
Ishant said young wicketkeeper-batsman Anuj Rawat will be making his first-class debut as Rishabh Pant is unavailable for this match due to his India A team duties.
"We have a talented wicketkeeper in Anuj Rawat. He has done well at the U-19 level. Rishabh Pant is not available. Otherwise everyone is fit and in good shape. I am also fully fit," Ishant said.
He will be captaining Delhi for the first time and he wants to enjoy each and every moment of it.
"It is a great responsibility. I would be responsible for the fielding changes and batting order."
Asked about the opposition Assam team, Ishant replied: "I have never believed in looking at the opposition but playing my own game."
The Delhi team has not won the Ranji Trophy since 2007-08 season and for the past few seasons, it has not even qualified for the knock-out stages but the skipper wants to be optimistic.
"Success and failure are part and parcel of the game. It is the players, who fail and it is they only who succeed. It depends on how you can back them. They have my support. I am confident they would do well," said Ishant.
Ishant also said it won't make much of a difference that Ranji Trophy is back to the home-and-away format from its tried and tested neutral venues.
"If someone is a good cricketer, the pitch doesn't matter. Both teams play on the same wicket. I believe, we will get good batting wickets and the batsmen need to apply themselves," Ishant said.