Of late a few out of favour stars have first unexpectedly made it to Indias limited overs side and later, surprisingly,have done well. Ashish Nehra justified his return to the national team after a long international hiatus with a creditable show during the World Cup while Rahul Dravids unforeseen inclusion in the shorter format side during the recent England tour proved to an inspirational choice.
Robin Uthappa is the latest join that list when he made it to the team for the lone T20 game against England and now it remains to be seen if he can justify the faith shown in him by the selectors. After the 5-0 whitewash in the ODIs,India will look to pack off the England side with a tennis-like scoreline. Uthappa,meanwhile,would have a few individual goals too. The Karnataka batsman lost his place in the Indian team after the tour to Australia three years back but on Saturday he will be at Eden Garden wearing India blues with an eye on not just extending his run in the T20 side but also press for a place in the ODI squad.
On the eve of his comeback,Uthappa said there was no pressure on him. I would say that there is freedom to perform. I have been playing some good cricket for the last few weeks and want to top it off (with a good performance at Eden Gardens), said the man who had a creditable outing in the recently concluded Challenger Trophy at Nagpur. Another player returning to the national side is all-rounder Yusuf Pathan,who was left out from the West Indies tour party. It will be tough for Pathan to make it to the playing XI since he will be competing for the all-rounders spot with the in-from Ravindra Jadeja. But since the dry Eden pitch is expected to aid the spinners,the team management can even go with both Pathan and Jadeja.
The Indian team management is also mulling over giving Rahul Sharma in his first game. The lanky leg-spinner had an extended nets on Friday with coach Duncan Fletcher keeping a close eye on him. There are also those who say that skipper MS Dhoni might sit out for the game and that would mean Suresh Raina will take his place at the helm and Uthappa behind the wickets.
England,on the other hand,will look forward to salvage some pride before returning home. They are the world champions and the world No. 1 in this format. Stand-in captain Graeme Swann said that this was a new game. We have drawn the line over the ODI series…its a new game.
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