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Runs resurrect Robin
January 16, 2007
The second in our Mission Tomorrow series: Robin Uthappa, surely one of the most promising batsmen India has today.
He has every shot in the book; he is ready, willing and able to take on the bowlers and, when necessary, go airborne to clear the infield.
His name began attracting notice as a member of the Under-19 squad that claimed the Asia Cup, but people began to take notice first in 2005 when, opening for India A in that year's edition of the Challenger's Trophy in Mumbai, he knocked up a superb 66, albeit in a losing cause, against an attack led by Zaheer Khan.
What is Mission Tomorrow?
A year later, again in the Challengers, Aiyudda Robin Uthappa took center stage with a 93-ball century for India B, that saw him make his one day debut, in place of Virender Sehwag, against England at Indore, in April.
He weighed in with a measured 86/96 as India successfully hunted down a target of 289 -- but despite that impressive debut, he only got two more chances (against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, where he scored 12, and against the West Indies in Port of Spain, where he was out without scoring) before being discarded.
The Robin Uthappa profile
Uthappa is back -- ironically, again replacing Sehwag, whose lack of form on the recent South Africa tour made the national selectors cast about for a replacement.
For now, the aggressive Karnataka opener is being seen as a handy spare wheel for when Sehwag's ebullience is punctured -- but the cognoscenti have, increasingly, begun to speak of him as a face for the future.
Earlier, there was a question mark about his temperament; it was suggested that he was good only for flashy cameos. The one time wicket-keeper-batsman, who abandoned the gloves so he could concentrate on his batting, must have taken the criticism to heart: in the current Ranji season, he has scored 854 runs in 7 matches (14 innings) at an average of 65.69 - and, significantly, a strike rate of 81.56; the sort of dominant scoring that helped his team make the semis.
Uthappa spoke at length to Haresh Pandya in Rajkot, shortly after being named to the squad for the first two ODIs against the West Indies, and also to the squad of 30 probables for the World Cup.
Photographs: AFP/Getty Images
Design: Imran Shaikh
Earlier Mission Tomorrow Special:
Subramaniam Badrinath: Waiting for the call