3:21 am - Saturday November 7, 2015

Uthappa, Sandeep selected for Bangladesh series

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Mumbai: Robin Uthappa, Sandeep Sharma, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir have been picked in the Indian ODI squad for the three-ODI series against Bangladesh which will be played in Dhaka from June 15.

With the important tour to England coming up in July, the selectors decided to rest skipper MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli for the series against Bangladesh. Rohit Sharma will be leading the side in Dhoni’s absence.

Uthappa, who last played an ODI for India in the 2008 Asia Cup, has scored 613 runs in 14 matches so far. His wonderful form in the IPL has resulted in Uthappa making a comeback after six years. The decision by Kolkata Knight Riders to promote Uthappa as an opener in the last few games has proved successful. This form is an extension of Uthappa’s strong 2013-14 domestic form. He was the highest run-getter in Karnataka’s clinching of the Vijay Hazare Trophy, India’s premier 50-over contest, with 536 runs at 76.57 with three hundreds and a fifty. Prior to that, Uthappa averaged 46.75 in five Ranji Trophy matches. The previous wicketkeeper-batsman India tried out in Dhoni’s absence was Dinesh Karthik in the Asia Cup, but his poor form with the bat hasn’t earned him any favours. Uthappa has six dismissals behind the stumps in IPL 7.

Sandeep Sharma’s name has been making names in Indian cricketing circles since his wonderful showing in the U-19 World Cup in Australia in 2012. With 17 wickets in 10 games,Sharma is fast emerging as the latest sensation, hustling batsman with his nippy pace and sharp movement. Not just that, he has been mature and confident, as highlighted by KXIP captain George Bailey. The selectors have been keeping a close eye on his current form, having picked up 36 wickets in eight Ranji Trophy matches this season.

Yuvraj struggled in the ODI series against South Africa and that resulted in his exit from the team. He struggled for impact in the World T20 and had an inconsistent start in the IPL. However, with two incredible knocks in a row, a 38-ball 83 and four wickets followed by 68 not out of 29 balls on Tuesday night against Delhi Daredevils, Yuvraj has shown that he cannot be discounted.

After a horror start to the IPL where he just made one run in four innings, Gautam Gambhir has struck form at the right time. Gambhir ​has not played for India since January 2013. His name was taken in certain circles before India went to Zimbabwe for five ODIs last summer, but when a weakened side was named Gambhir’s name was absent. In December, during the tour of South Africa, MS Dhoni remarked that Gambhir was still the third best Test opener India had. He had a decent outing in the Ranji trophy with 578 runs at an average of 48 and this has worked in his favor.

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