State cricketers get just reward

State cricketers get just reward

Ready for Australian challenge

It was a windfall for Karnataka as four of their players were picked for India ‘A’ tour of Australia beginning from July 6. 

After a fruitful domestic season during which period they won an unprecedented three titles -- Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and Vijay Hazare Trophy -- the rewards have been commensurate. Close on the heels of Robin Uthappa, Vinay Kumar and Stuart Binny’s inclusion in various teams bound for Bangladesh and England, three more batsmen have been included for the month-long tour Down Under where they will be playing two four-day matches (between July 6 and 13) and a quadrangular series to be held from July 20 - August 2.   

While KL Rahul, Karun Nair and Uthappa have found place in the four-day squad, Manish Pandey has made it to the one-day team along with Uthappa who will also be the captain for the quadrangular meet.

“It is a nice feeling to lead India 'A’,” said Uthappa on Wednesday. “I want to do well in Australia but to be honest the uppermost thing in my mind right now is to do well and win matches for India in Bangladesh (three match ODI series beginning June 15). I am just focussed on that. That is the main thought,” he stressed.

Uthappa has enjoyed the most productive domestic season of his career yet, stacking up runs in Ranji (374), Vijay Hazare (536) and IPL-7 (660).   Rahul’s inclusion was on the expected lines after the youngster piled on 1033 runs in Karnataka’s triumphant Ranji campaign. “I am happy to be picked for the tour of Australia,” he said. “I have played one India 'A' game before and that was against the West Indies 'A'. And this is my first tour to Australia as part of an India 'A' side and I am very excited about that. There is still time for the tour and I want to prepare well, cover all the bases, work on my technique and I want to stay calm and positive,” he offered.

Nair’s stock has gone up with his every outing. After scoring three successive Ranji centuries and a 92 in the Irani Cup, he was the second highest run-getter (330) for Rajasthan Royals in IPL-7. 

“It was a nice surprise and I am looking forward to be a part of the team,” he said. “I want to make the most of this opportunity. I was very happy with the way I played last season and I want to play the same way. I wasn't really thinking about selection and all when I played for Karnataka and the IPL but I am extremely happy to be here with the India 'A' team,” he explained. 

Pandey may consider himself a touch unlucky not to find a place in the four-day squad. After all, he had amassed 729 runs in the Ranji Trophy. But, nonetheless, he was happy to have got some recognition. “I have had a very good domestic season and then I did well in the IPL too and to be frank I was expecting a call for the India 'A' team. I want to do well and I have played a few matches for India 'A' in the past.

 Once I was part of the Karnataka squad for this same quadrangular tournament but I coudn’t go then as I was picked for the India under-19 team at the same time. “Now I have got a chance with the India 'A' team for the same tournament and I want to do well,” he said.