New Delhi: Robin Uthappa has got a big chance to show his mettle once again in the international level, as the star batsman will hope to put up a big show against Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata on Thursday. The Karnataka batsman's last outing for the national team came against Bangladesh in the three-match ODI series, earlier in June.
The 29-year old, who celebrated his birthday on Monday, had a poor outing in the neighbouring nation after scoring just 69 runs in three innings. It did little to justify his cause, as he faced the axe for the ODI series against England and the West Indies.
The BCCI gave him another chance after selecting him for the last two ODIs against the Lankans. With Bengal wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, given a break by the board, the platform is set for Uthappa to retain the faith of selectors with less than a 100 days left for the coveted ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Uthappa's added onus in being a wicket-keeper could be handy as he will keep the wickets against Sri Lanka.
As skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been rested for the remaining two ODIs against Sri Lanka, the berth for a back-up role is wide open. The likes of Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha will provide stiff competition to Uthappa as a batsman-keeper role. Ambati Rayudu, who has become a regular feature in the ODI team can keep wickets, but it's likely the team will keep him as a batsman in the side.
Uthappa has been the backbone of current Indian Premier League champions, Kolkata Knight Riders. After a majestic show in the IPL, Uthappa followed it up with a similar series of performances for KKR in the Champions League T20, where they lost in the final. He was also impressive in the Duleep Trophy for South Zone striking a ton and a well made 80 in the semi-finals and final respectively.
Uthappa who is a regular opener, is likely to open the Indian innings alongside Ajinkya Rahane on Thursday. With the likes of Shikhar Dhawan being rested, Uthappa has a decent chance of fighting for the third opening slot alongside Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay for the upcoming World Cup.
An in-form Uthappa knows the vitality of these two ODIs and will be eager to make a strong reason to the board if he gets to be amongst the runs.
The Indian think-tank of late have been giving players chances to impress as several players in the current crop have got calls. Just like every one, Uthappa has an outside chance to board the flight to Australia and New Zealand in February.