The Indian selectors shortlisted 31 names yesterday to take on the West Indies in the remaining two ODIs, one T20I and a Board President XI tie. However, one significant name missing from that list is that of dashing batsman Robin Uthappa.
The Bangalore-based wicketkeeper-batsman was once again ignored by Sandeep Patil & Co despite raining runs from his willow recently.
Uthappa, who will turn 29 on November 11, will probably be wondering what more he needs to do to catch the eye of the selectors. He was the third highest run-getter (210 runs in five matches) for Champions League T20 finalists
Kolkata Knight Riders a few weeks ago.
Then, in the last edition of the Indian Premier League, the KKR opener topped the batting charts with an aggregate of 660 runs (including five half-centuries) in 16 matches. He was rewarded with a place in the three-ODIs against Bangladesh in June where he scored a half-century in the opening game, and followed it up with 14 and five runs respectively in the remaining two matches.
Uthappa, who missed most part of the last Ranji Trophy season due to injury, was a key factor (scoring 374 runs in five matches) in Karnataka winning the title for the seventh time.
Former chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar was surprised by Patil & Co’s decision. “This is really surprising. Robin is in form and winning matches. He would have been a good candidate to look at considering the upcoming Australia tour. He is a good player on hard wickets and tackles short balls well. His wicketkeeping is an additional bonus,” Vengsarkar told mid-day yesterday.
Kolkata-based former selector Sambaran Banerjee also seconded Vengsarkar’s views. “It is unfortunate. Robin has looked solid since last year. If I were one of the selectors, I would have definitely picked him,” said Banerjee.
The logic behind...
Former India coach and selector Madan Lal also expressed disappointment at Uthappa’s omission but tried to find logic in the selectors’ decision. “Probably, the selectors did not require more options for the opening combination. A lot depends on which slot you are competing for.
“They have shown faith in Shikhar Dhawan, who hasn’t done well for quite some time now. But then they could have put him under pressure by selecting Uthappa in to the team,” said the 1983 World Cup-winning member.
Squad for 2 ODIs
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Murali Vijay, Kuldeep Yadav, Akshar Patel.
T20 team vs WI
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Stuart Binny, Ravindra Jadeja, Akshar Patel, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Sanju Samson, Manish Pandey, Umesh Yadav.
Board President XI
Suresh Raina (captain), Jiwanjot Singh, Lokesh Rahul, Naman Ojha, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Wriddhiman Saha, Karun Nair, Parvez Rasool, Pankaj Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Jasprit Bumrah, Karn Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav.