Robin Uthappa won't keep wicket this Ranji season

Robin Uthappa and C. M. Gautam kept wicket for Karnataka last Ranji season. But the former will free himself of wicket-keeping duties as he believes that "will work well for the team."

ROBIN UTHAPPA

“The chemistry works with C. M. (Gautam) keeping. And I respect that. Last year, we shared the duties but this year I'm going to allow C. M. to keep," said Robin Uthappa.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Robin Uthappa will not seek to keep wicket for Karnataka this Ranji Trophy season, believing it is best for “team chemistry”.

The 30-year-old shared the gloves with C. M. Gautam last time around, in an effort to bolster his credentials as a keeper-batsman, but the situation was perhaps not ideal for the team.

“Last season was a learning for me; I understood a little more about team chemistry,” said Uthappa here on Thursday.

“The chemistry works with C. M. (Gautam) keeping. And I respect that. Last year, we shared the duties but this year I'm going to allow C. M. to keep. And I think he should keep because it works well for the team. I don't want to disturb that. For me it was a learning and I've accepted that learning and grown with that.”

After two glorious years, last season ended in disappointment for Karnataka, and Uthappa felt there were things being taken for granted.

“Our batting didn't fall into place. We couldn't get 20 wickets. The rub of the green wasn't going our way either. Eventually we missed the knockouts by a point. We were a little lacklustre in a few games. When the team's good then sometimes you take things for granted. But we want to make amends for that this season. We've got the hunger, the drive, and motivation,” he said.

Uthappa admitted he was not a fan of playing at neutral venues. “I've been playing domestic cricket for 13 years and in the last three-four years crowds are actually turning up to watch Ranji Trophy games,” he said. “It is very heartening. It is healthy for domestic cricket. To not see that happen this year would be a bit of a lull.

"I don't know if this will last. I don't know if this is the right way to go. But some teams were playing on such bad pitches that they were forced to take this option. Hopefully, it's not something that will last too long,” he said.

Uthappa was last called up to the Indian team in 2015 following a good IPL season but was overlooked for the ODI and T20 tour of Zimbabwe this June. He was in fine form with the bat in the last Ranji Trophy season, scoring 759 runs at an average close to sixty.

“I have been staking a claim [for an India spot] every season. But it's up to the selectors to make that call,” he said. “Sometimes, it's disheartening. Especially when you watch other teams, other nations playing. You feel you're missing out. But I do believe strongly that I will play again. People have seen me as flamboyant but not consistent. It's taking time for people to relate to how I play. But consistency is something I've worked on. Hopefully people will take note again.”