Uthappa- Forgotten hero or Rising star?

Do you have any memories of the man who scored 86 in his debut game against England and also had his biggest moment to savour against them? To drop further clues would mean to reveal the identity of the man

 

In his most popular ODI innings, he bought India back from the dead to actually level the series. It was a game in which Sachin Tendulkar was awarded the Man of the match. He hasn’t played an ODI for more than three years now

 

Now to make the identity of the player a giveaway, he bowed down in front of a packed stadium after leading India to a win over arch rivals Pakistan, in a bowl out. Yes it is Robin Venu Uthappa. After exploding into India’s collective senses in that match at Oval, he quickly slipped down the favourite charts

 

Yet people believe that he has it in him to knock a few bowling attacks over. It must be him and Irfan Pathan, whose non-selection remains a mystery to their followers. While Irfan’s slide is mysterious, Uthappa’s is crystal clear

 

The stubbornness or the unwillingness to change the natural game or harness the abilities is the reason behind the people who matter, not favouring him. One of the shocking statistic about him is the fact that after that path breaking innings at Oval, he crossed 50 only once in  25 matches. The first conclusion to be drawn from this damning piece of statistic is, Uthappa doesn’t have it in him to stay put at the crease for a long haul

 

Perhaps it is his bad luck that India unearthed a player of similar mould in Rohit Sharma. He promised a little more solidity than what Uthappa did. However both these players were consigned to sidelines when Kohli came onto the scene. Kohli displayed the nerve by performing time and again in tight chases

 

In this context, it was refreshing to watch Uthappa take on the bowling of India Green yesterday at Nagpur. What it put beyond doubt was the fact that if he stays at the crease for some period of time, he has the ability to take his team to large totals. The treatment that was meted out to Ojha and Mishra- India hopefuls both- would stay in the mind for a long time to come

 

After giving Mishra the stick, he unfolded his entire repertoire for Ojha to see. He attacked him from the word go. He started by lofting him against the turn to long-on and then stayed beside the line as he played a couple of magical inside out strokes. For greater effect, he swept and reverse-swept powerfully. The joy on reaching the milestone was evident as he raised his arms up in celebration and let out a roar

 

This is the Uthappa that the average Indian wants to see. One who takes the attack to the opposition camp and comes out trumps. If he can do that consistently, he could yet be one of the pillars of the Indian batting. He has age and talent on his side. Its just the consistency that needs to be honed

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