<
>

Saurashtra announce Uthappa signing for 2017-18 season

Robin Uthappa pulls on his way to 49 PTI

The Saurashtra Cricket Association [SCA] has announced signing Robin Uthappa as the team's professional player for the 2017-18 Ranji Trophy season, although the senior batsman is yet to confirm the development. ESPNcricinfo understands Uthappa, 31, does not wish to preempt the announcement before the paperwork has been processed and sent by the BCCI to the SCA, after an earlier deal with Kerala, which he had been on the verge of signing, did not go through.

The SCA, though, has issued a statement welcoming Uthappa. "SCA feels confident that Robin will add strength to [the] strong Ranji Team of Saurashtra with his vast experience and commendable performance," the association's media manager, Himanshu Shah, said in a press release. "Robin Uthappa has completed all necessary formalities to BCCI, Saurashtra Cricket Association and Karnataka State Cricket Association."

In any event, the move has brought the curtain down on Uthappa's 15-year association with Karnataka. He led Karnataka to the final of the 2009-10 Ranji Trophy, where Mumbai snatched a six-run win. Uthappa was also part of the Karnataka side that did the double-treble, winning the Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Last season, however, he had a middling run, tallying 328 runs from seven Ranji Trophy games, with only one fifty-plus score. Uthappa was subsequently left out of Karnataka's quarter-final clash against Tamil Nadu, which the latter won.

Karnataka State Cricket Association secretary Sudhakar Rao said the association had tried to persuade Uthappa to stay on. "We had two meetings, but he stuck to his words. He said he wanted a change. We can't stop him," he told ESPNcricinfo. "He is a senior player and he wants to go. So, we issued an NoC (No Objection Certificate) and wished him all the best for his comeback to the national side."

Uthappa has scored 8793 runs from 130 first-class matches at an average of 41.28, including 21 hundreds. He has turned out for India in 46 ODIs and 13 T20Is.