Karun Nair, KL Rahul and Manish Pandey have returned to Karnataka’s squad for their Ranji Trophy 2016/17 knockout game against Tamil Nadu while Robin Uthappa, who has had an average season so far, has been dropped from the 16-man squad.
Nair on Monday became the second Indian to score a triple-century in Tests while Rahul, who missed his first double-century but just one run in the ongoing Chennai Test vs England. On the other hand, Uthappa being dropped highlights the fact that selectors have given utmost importance to form than past reputation.
“With the three batsmen back, the selection was a tough process. We collectively decided to rest Robin since we couldn’t play him in the XI,” said R Sudhakar Rao, Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) chairman of selectors.
“The newcomers have done well and it would have been unfair to drop them, so we have taken the decision keeping the future of Karnataka cricket in mind.”
“There is nothing wrong with his batting, but sometimes numbers matter, especially when people are waiting to get a chance. It’s just the numbers,” said head coach J Arunkumar.
“Last year, at the start of the season, he was trying out a few things. After a point, I told him to stop focussing on that and focus on making runs. Soon after that, he started making runs. Even this season, I was hoping something like that would happen.
“We thought that one game before the knockout we should try somebody out just in case of an injury, or if somebody is not allowed to play because of national duty. We just wanted to try Pavan Deshpande and Arjun Hoysala to see if the guys belonged in that space and if they are confident enough.
“We wanted to make sure we are going in prepared for the knockout stages. Otherwise, Robin is batting really well. He’s getting off to great starts and he’s getting out to some odd balls. It’s sad that we have to rest a big player. We need big players like him because they have been there and done that,” he concluded.
So far this season, Uthappa has been able to score just 328 runs in 12 innings at an average of 27.33.
R. Vinay Kumar will lead the team in the quarter-final against Tamil Nadu. The team also includes the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Stuart Binny, Abhimanyu Mithun, Srinath Arvind and all-rounder Shreyas Gopal. The knockout game will be played at Vizag from December 23.
Tamil Nadu squad will also have the services of Ravichandran Ashwin and Murali Vijay.
Karnataka squad for Quarter Finals –
R Vinay Kumar (C), KL Rahul, R Samarth, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair (VC), Stuart Binny, Mir Kaunain Abbas, CM Gautam, Abhimanyu Mithun, Srinath Arvind, KGowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Pavan Deshpande, Abrar Kazi, David Mathias, Mayank Agarwal.