Karnataka may have been knocked out of the year’s Ranji Trophy championship but their captain Robin Uthappa’s stock seems to be going up.
Three centuries and a half century with a near 50 average in the domestic competition could well be adding value to his price in the Indian Premier League (IPL). There are now bidders for the hard-hitting batsman in the IPL trading window despite the fact that he was a disaster in the first edition of the tournament.
IPLPulse has learnt that Vijay Mallya’s Royal Challengers Bangalore are keen on having Uthappa, who was, not long ago, a regular member of the India’s ODI team. Uthappa currently plays for Mumbai Indians (MI).
“We’re hoping to buy Robin. He is local boy and his worth cannot be underestimated. He will be a good asset for the team,” a top Royal Challengers’ official said.
Uthappa had scored a mere 320 runs in 14 IPL matches. His lacklustre showing had led to question marks over the high value with which the Ambanis had purchased him. But the new season seems to have brought about a turnaround in Uthappa’s fortunes.
“Why will we sell him? He has just hit a century,” an MI official told IPLPulse.
The other reason could be that the Mumbai outfit doesn’t have a formidable batsman apart from Sachin Tendulkar among their India recruits. Each team has to have at least seven Indian players in the starting line-up.
But both Bangalore and Mumbai teams, however, admit that trading of Uthappa is not impossible. One way, it seems, could be by swapping him with Zaheer Khan.
The Mumbai team has already expressed interest in locals such as Zaheer and Rohit Sharma.
“Swapping Zaheer with Robin is a possibility if we get good batsman from elsewhere,” a Mumbai franchisee official said.
The rise of Ajinkya Rahane, the highest scorer this Ranji season, has already added thrust to their batting. Royal Challengers echoed the view. “The trade-off can be considered,” their official conceded.
Zaheer was bought for $450,000 by Bangalore while Mumbai Indians had purchased Uthappa for a whopping $850,000. There is no cap on how much a team can spend in the trading window. If the deal comes through, it will be a sort of homecoming for both the players.