It was not too long ago that Gambhir and Uthappa were seen celebrating India’s T20 triumph in South Africa as they were considered to be a critical part of a brave new Indian team. But things have not gone according to plan as both of them are way down the pecking order for the national selectors. But looking at their recent displays in the IPL, you wonder what else must Uthappa and Gambhir do to receive a national team call up.
Forgotten by their national team but adored by their IPL franchise, Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa are a curious duo. India’s historic T20 triumph almost a decade ago had many heroes with Gambhir and Uthappa being two of them. Gambhir’s consistency at the top while Uthappa’s aggressive knocks helped India along its way to glory.
However Uthappa’s career nose dived after a brilliant 2007. His match winning performances in England as well his superb displays against Australia at home had quickly won him a large legion of fans. But things changed after a relatively successful tour of Australia in early 2008. His performances dipped and struggled for consistency which eventually led to him getting dropped from the team.
Gambhir on the other hand went from strength to strength as he eventually became the top ranked batsman in 2009. He was a crucial member of India’s World Cup winning campaign in 2011 as he played the most important innings of his career in the final. Unfortunately for him, his well paced 97 was overshadowed by Dhoni’s brilliance as many people forgot his role in the final.
Things started going down hill from then on as a combination of lack of form as well as injuries led to his departure from the national team set up.
Gambhir was bought by the KKR in 2011 as they built their team around the Delhi opener. The results were almost instantaneous as he led KKR to their maiden IPL title in 2012.
The 2014 IPL auction was a big one for the Kolkata Knight Riders as they brought in Robin Uthappa to strengthen their batting. It proved to be a master stroke as Uthappa had a sensational campaign with the bat ending the tournament as the leading run scorer with 660 runs.
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One of the main reasons behind KKR’s success in recent years is the batting partnership of Gambhir and Uthappa. They have been the batting mainstays in the side which has allowed the other players to play with more freedom. Gambhir’s subtle touch complements well with Uthappa’s brute force which has given rise to a superb partnership.
This season has been no different as Gambhir and Uthappa have been laying siege to every bowling attack in the IPL. Gambhir has already worn the Orange cap a couple of times while Uthappa’s last couple of innings have been quite simply awesome. The way these two are playing, you would be a brave man to bet against them leading the KKR to another IPL title.
So what next ?
It is no secret that India is looking for its next big great opening partnership. Sachin, Ganguly and Sehwag are no longer there while Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan are yet to truly established themselves as the top two in the line up.
Both Sharma and Dhawan have had consistency issues while the likes of Rahane and Rahul have not really taken their opportunities to cement themselves at the top.
So this leaves the door open for someone else to come in. For some reason, the selectors have always tended to brush aside Gambhir and Uthappa. They want to look at the future but there does not seem to be any answer right now. So why not go back to these two?
They have the experience and the runs behind them to warrant a place in the side. Uthappa’s wicket keeping skills could also prove to be very handy when the selectors think of the squad’s composition.
Let us see what happens in the future. But for now the Kolkata Knight Riders are reaping the benefits of having these two in their team.