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Uthappa leaves Karnataka, set to join Kerala

Wisden India logo Wisden India 19-06-2017 Wisden India staff

After 15 seasons plying his wares for the state of his birth in over 100 Ranji Trophy games, Robin Uthappa will not represent Karnataka in the 2017-18 domestic season.

Uthappa, the flamboyant 31-year-old right-hand batsman, has sought and received a No-Objection Certificate from the Karnataka State Cricket Association, and is more or less certain to represent Kerala in the season ahead. Kerala have recently roped in the services of Dav Whatmore as their coach in a bid to improve their stocks on the domestic scene, and Uthappa’s likely presence will further add to their designs of making a mark.

There is, however, speculation that Uthappa is also in talks with Vidarbha Cricket Association. Ganesh Satish, Uthappa's former Karnataka teammate, is already representing Vidarbha as one of their professionals.

Uthappa made his first-class debut as a 17-year-old in December 2002 for Karnataka in a Ranji Trophy Plate Group B game against Haryana in Faridabad, scoring 40 as his team surged to an innings win on their way to the Plate title and promotion back to the Elite Division for the following year. In all, he represented Karnataka in 101 of his 130 first-class games, stacking up 6865 runs at 41.85, inclusive of 18 hundreds and 33 fifties. He has also held 102 catches as outfielder and wicketkeeper, while also accounting for two stumpings.

The NoC was granted by the KSCA on Saturday (June 17), bringing at least to a temporary end an excellent run with Karnataka.

Uthappa also captained the side to the final of the Ranji Trophy in January 2010, a match Karnataka lost by six runs to Mumbai in Mysore.

R Sudhakar Rao, the interim KSCA secretary, confirmed Uthappa’s departure. “I had a long chat with Robin and he had his reasons for moving out,” said Rao. “We tried to hold him back but couldn’t, so we had to issue the NoC as per his request. His contribution to Karnataka cricket is immense and we wish him the best always.”

Uthappa’s breakthrough performance came during the 2006-07 season when he made 1084 first-class runs at 57.05, thus earning a call-up to the national team for the One-Day International series at home against England. He also played a stellar role in Karnataka retaining the Ranji Trophy in the 2014-15 season with 1158 first-class runs at 50.34, including three hundreds and six fifties, and was the team’s leading scorer the following season too with 763 runs, though Karnataka failed to advance beyond the league stage.

He had modest numbers in the season gone by, having flirted with wicketkeeping duties the previous year in a bid to win back his place in the Indian side. As Karnataka crashed out in the quarterfinal to Tamil Nadu inside two days in Visakhapatnam, Uthappa ended the season with a mere 328 runs from seven games at 27.33, his 128 against Assam the only time he topped 50. Uthappa was left out of the playing XI for Karnataka’s last league game as well as for the quarterfinal, which was perhaps when he decided that the time was ripe to move elsewhere.

He was also dropped from the state Twenty20 side, even though he has been an integral part of Kolkata Knight Riders for four seasons now and played a pivotal role during their title win in 2014, and in subsequent editions as well.

Uthappa in numbers

Batting

Overall

First-class: 130              218       5          8793     162       41.28    21         48         126       2

List A:         175             169       11         5753     169       36.41    14         30         100       8

T20s:           212                        205       20         5447     92         29.44    -           31         105       38

For Karnataka

First-class:        101       168       4          6865     162       41.85    18         33         102       2

List A:               67         66         2          2943     169       45.98    10         15         47         4

T20s:                35         35         1          1018     92         29.94    -           6          19         3

(Read under Matches, Innings, Not Outs, Runs, Highest, Average, 100s, 50s, Catches, Stumpings)

Bowling

Overall

First-class:        130       739       470       12         3/26      39.16    3.81

List A:               175       272       266       5          2/19      53.20    5.86

T20s:                212       6          11         0          -           -           11.00

© Provided by Wisden

For Karnataka

First-class:        130       381       251       4          2/22      62.75    3.95

List A:               67         162       150       4          2/19      37.50    5.56

T20s:                35         6          11         0          -           -           11.00

(Read under Matches, Balls bowled, Runs conceded, Wickets, Best bowling, Average, Economy)

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