Robin Uthappa to represent Saurashtra for Ranji's 2017-18 season
What's the story?
Veteran Karnataka batsman Robin Uthappa, who recently severed ties with the state's domestic team, will play for the Saurashtra side for the upcoming season of the Ranji Trophy.
“Robin Uthappa has completed all necessary formalities to BCCI, Saurashtra Cricket Association and Karnataka State Cricket Association,”, the SCA said in a media statement.
“Saurashtra Cricket Association welcomes Robin Uthappa. SCA feels confident that Robin will add up strength to strong Ranji Team of Saurashtra with his vast experience and commendable performance”, they added.
The 31-year-old stepped down as a Karnataka player after the team dropped him for a significant number of matches in the last Ranji Trophy season.
“We had two meetings with him but we couldn't convince him to stay. He had his own plans. ‘I've played here; now I want to play elsewhere,’ is what he said. We tried to retain him. But we can't force anybody. He has reached this level only because of this state. The final decision was his. Wherever he goes, our best wishes are always with him. He is our boy," KSCA secretary Sudhakar Rao had earlier said.
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Uthappa has been an integral part of the Karnataka state team and was associated with them for a decade and a half. However, he applied for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the KSCA and they granted it to him in June this year.
The right-handed batsman had earlier flown to Saurashtra to discuss his potential association with its Ranji side after he decided to move on from Karnataka, his place of birth, and the state he represented for fifteen years.
It was widely reported that he might play for Kerala after he received the NOC from KSCA, but he eventually made a move further north. Saurashtra are already missing Ravindra Jadeja and Cheteshwar Pujara courtesy their national commitments and their absence will aid Uthappa in his attempts to become a regular in the playing XI.
Uthappa was a prolific run-scorer for Karnataka in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. However, he underperformed by his own standards in the previous season.
He would look to get back to his best form soon and start his new domestic venture with Saurashtra on a positive note. He can still make a comeback into the Indian national side if he has an extremely good season, and he still has age on his side.
The Uthappa-Karnataka association was one of the longest standing partnerships of Ranji cricket in recent years. While it will be hard for the KSCA to replace the experience of the 31-year-old, they will look to groom new talent in his place now.
As far as Uthappa goes, playing for Saurashtra will most likely add to his game and give him a different sort of experience that will help him develop as an overall cricketer. The best in an athlete comes out when they're away from their comfort zone, and that's exactly where Uthappa is at the moment!