After a very long time, several senior Indian cricketers have been rested for an international tour. While it would provide them with the much-needed break, it has also opened a window of opportunity for several cricketers to once again impress the selectors with a good show at the highest level. Here is a list of five such cricketers.
Robin Uthappa: Despite having all the strokes in his repertoire, Robin Uthappa was never a regular member of the Indian team due to inconsistent performances. He made his ODI debut for India in 2006, and despite that, has played just 38 limited-overs matches. He was a member of the Indian squad which won the T20 World Cup in 2007, after which he was dropped for a very long time. Uthappa once again impressed everybody with a good domestic season in 2013-14, but the reason why he was recalled into the Indian squad, was his incredible performance in IPL 7. Uthappa was in scintillating form for title winners KKR, where he hit successive 40 plus scores in ten innings – a record in T20 cricket. The Bangladesh tour is a huge opportunity for Uthappa to stake his claim for a permanent place in the Indian squad.
Manoj Tiwary: Despite making his ODI debut in 2008, Manoj Tiwary has appeared in just 8 matches in limited-overs cricket for India. He has been a prolific run-scorer in the Indian domestic circuit, but for reasons unknown, he was ignored on a regular basis by the Indian selectors who chose to stick with out of form cricketers. He slammed his maiden ODI ton against West Indies in 2011, but surprisingly, didn’t play a single match for over six months. Now that he has been recalled into the team once again after quite some time, the 28-year-old will want to prove a point with back-to-back good knocks.
Wriddhiman Saha: He might not have received the kind of praise he deserved, but Wriddhiman Saha was one of the finest cricketers in IPL 7. Saha, who warmed the bench for CSK in most of the matches last season, showed his potential as a world class cricketer in the seventh edition. He batted with a lot of maturity and moulded his innings according to the situation. While his determination to keep a price on a wicket was hailed by many, he left no choice for the selectors but to include him for Bangladesh tour, with a record ton in the final. Considering that Team India will require a wicketkeeper if MS Dhoni bids adieu to any one format of the game in the near future, Saha would want to make his presence felt at the big stage.
Akshar Patel: Despite being signed by the Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2013, lanky spinner Akshar Patel didn’t get to make his IPL debut as he warmed the bench for the entire season. But once he was signed by the Kings XI Punjab for the seventh season and got the opportunity to play, Patel showed maturity of the highest class and bamboozled the best of the batsmen with his variation. He became an integral part of the KXIP squad and skipper George Bailey would throw the ball at him, whenever he needed to break a partnership. Apart from his bowling skills, Patel also player a few good knocks for his team and once again played all sorts of bowlers with ease. For a 20-year-old, a maiden call into the ODI squad after just one IPL season is nothing less than a dream. Akshar would be desperate to further impress the selectors with his all-round skills and strengthen his case as an all-rounder.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Technically sound, Pujara is the future of Indian cricket in Test matches. But he hasn’t been able to impress much with his abilities in limited-overs cricket. He was seen struggling to accelerate the pace of the innings while playing for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 7. But his style of batting probably suits more to the ODIs. He has been a revelation in the Indian domestic circuit and the 25-year-old, who filled the massive shoes of Rahul Dravid after his retirement, would also want to have a long career in ODIs. The Bangladesh tour could be the ideal platform.