Saurashtra has received a major setback ahead of the upcoming Ranji Trophy 2018-19 season, as Robin Uthappa will not available for selection for the initial phase of the tournament with an ankle injury.
The Karnataka batsman, who switched to Saurashtra in the last domestic season, had undergone a surgery in England last week because of which he would not be allowed to play for another few days.
Saurashtra coach Sitanshu Kotak told Sportstar on Friday (October 26), “Uthappa is having an injury. He has some issues with his ankle. Three to four days ago, he underwent a surgery in England. He will need six to eight weeks to recover. I don’t know how much will he be able to play in the league stage. But even if he is back for the second phase, he will add value to our side.”
However, Saurashtra will have huge boost in India internationals Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja, who will be available for the first few Ranji matches.
The coach further went on to confirm, “Pujara will be there in the first two games (before flying out to Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy), Jadeja may miss out on the opener (due the ongoing ODI series against the Windies) but he will be available for the second game.”
Meanwhile, Saurashtra is also facing selection conundrums, as they have to divide its young players between the BCCI U-23 tournament and Ranji Trophy squad at the same time. Kotak is keen on to get success in the tournament after having a poor outing (only three wins) in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Kotak signed off by saying, “The problem is if we pick players — who are also eligible for the U-23 tournament — we have to ensure they make it to the playing XI. We don’t want them to miss both the chances. If they make it, we will keep them but there is no point sitting out as reserves. Going into the four-dayer, we will try to qualify to the last four stage without fail.”
Saurashtra will kick off their Ranji Trophy 2018-19 campaign against Chhattisgarh on November 1.