Aakash Chopra, the former India opening batsman, has been named the Delhi captain for the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy season. The selection committee, led by the former opener Chetan Chauhan, preferred Chopra to Mithun Manhas, who has captained the team in the past.
"In the absence of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, who will be with the Indian team for the Australia and England series, Aakash Chopra will lead the side," Sunil Dev, the convener of the selection committee, said.
Manhas, who is nursing his sore back in Bangalore, however, admitted his disappointment at being overlooked.
"I think I have successfully led the team in the past," Manhas told the Indian Express. "Be it the initial phase in the Ranji Trophy last season or guiding North Zone all the way to victory in the Duleep Trophy, I have repeatedly proved my captaincy credentials.
"Since Aakash and I are very good friends, it won't be and issue but, yeah, I am surprised and a bit disappointed too."
Chopra, who is busy promoting his book Beyond the Blues, based on his domestic experiences, said he was ready to take on his new responsibility. Chopra was incidentally the overall leading run-scorer last season in the Ranji Trophy.
"Well, the news is a little surprising that it (the captaincy) came to me," he said. "However, I had been sounded out and was asked if I was interested. I said 'yes'.
"My form is good too and I am confident that I can handle the responsibility."
The selectors meanwhile named a list of 28 probables for the season, with Shikhar Dhawan named as Chopra's deputy. Delhi begin their defence of the Ranji Trophy on November 3 against Punjab.
Probables: Aakash Chopra (c), Shikhar Dhawan (vc), Mithun Manhas, Virat Kohli, Rajat Bhatia, Punit Bisht, Chetanya Nanda, Pradeep Sangwan, Ashish Nehra, Mayank Tehlan, Ishant Sharma, Parvinder Sharma, Sumit Narwal, Amit Bhandari, Narender Singh, Aditya Jain, Gaurav Chhabra, Rahul Yadav, Yogesh Nagar, Shawez Khan, Parvesh Chikara, Sunny Sherawat, Sahan John, Manan Sharma, Raman Sachdeva, Avtar Singh, Amandeep Singh, Yogesh Sachdeva