Ahead of the Karnataka Premier League, Robin Uthappa had expressed a strong desire to get back to the Karnataka set-up for the upcoming domestic season. The classy batsman, who turned out for Saurashtra last time, had admitted that it wasn’t easy to play for a new team. Despite his interest, it appears like Uthappa will have to wait longer to don the Karnataka colours again.
With less than ten days to go for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the season-opening tournament, it has been confirmed that Uthappa will continue with Saurashtra. Uthappa’s decision to play the KPL was seen as a step towards returning to Karnataka, a team with which he had a 15-year-long association. But the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) selectors isn’t keen on having him back, the 32-year-old told DH.
“I wanted to play (for Karnataka) but it looks like the selectors aren’t interested. I spoke to them and they said they will get back to me. But there was no communication from their end and I had no clue what was happening. So I decided to sign another year with Saurashtra,” said Uthappa, who scored 180 runs from seven games and led Bengaluru Blasters to the final in the KPL.
Uthappa had made it clear that he had mended fences with the KSCA administrators. His shift in allegiance occurred following an uneasy equation with KSCA. The 2015-17 period was an ordinary one for Uthappa. And KSCA’s decision to ignore him for the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals against Tamil Nadu in the 2016-17 season didn’t go down well with the player.
“I have no issues with the administrators but in the end, it was up to the selectors. I wished to play in front of our crowd but now it’s time to move on. I am preparing well for the season and I am eager to do well for Saurashtra,” he said.
Side for the future
With many seasoned players moving up the ranks and representing the country (‘A’ side or senior team), the KSCA has begun to build a side for the future with many youngsters receiving opportunities. Mir Kaunain Abbas and D Nischal were tried at Uthappa’s number 3 position and they fared well.
“We don’t have anything against anybody. We are just looking ahead and forming a core squad. Many youngsters are doing well and it’s time for us to give them an opportunity on the bigger stage,” said Raghuram Bhat, senior selection committee chairman.