"Mithun has bowled his heart out. We could not have asked for more from a debutant in good batting conditions" declared India coach Gary Kirsten after Abhimanyu Mithun's impressive debut against Sri Lanka earlier this year. India had lost a crucial toss and while all our bowlers toiled hard to get anything from the flat surface, Mithun stood out for his ability to bowl longer spells. He went on to impress everyone in the remaining two Test matches and even contributed with the bat. He was to be Team India's man for the future, had he been nurtured.
But what happened after that series is beyond comprehension. The same guy who amazed all and sundry has faded into the oblivion. His omission might have been inevitable with the return of Zaheer and Sreesanth in the series in India, but it's baffling Jaydev Unadkat and Umesh Yadav were preferred over him for the tour to South Africa, despite not even setting the domestic circuit on fire this season. Saurashtra's Unadkat took 10 wickets in four games at nearly 40 runs apiece. Yadav did slightly better for Vidharbha, picking 13 wickets in 4 games albeit in the Plate division.
Mithun in this misery has Karnataka teammate Robin Uthappa for company. He was the star performer for RCB in the third edition of the IPL and his ability to clear the fence in the death overs even against the best fast bowlers in the world was appreciated. He also donned the gloves to bring more to the table; he's even keeping wickets for Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy. He seems to be in good touch having scored over 400 runs in the six games so far. Shouldn't Robin have been given a chance to prove his credentials ahead of the World Cup? India did try a few wicket keepers whenever Dhoni rested, but not Robin.
Let's look at the wicket keeping options in case, God forbid; Dhoni gets injured before or during the World Cup. Parthiv Patel seems to be the front-runner after two impressive knocks against the Kiwis in his comeback series. But he's someone who thrives at the top of the order. Now, do we have a spot available at the top? No. Will Parthiv be equally successful at 6 or 7? We don't know! Other options are Saha and Karthik. Saha is a better keeper, Karthik a better batsman. Karthik seems to be the last choice, for everyone else has played ahead of him. And Saha can't be your ideal number 7 either.
Wouldn't it have made sense to try Robin?
But these two men from Karnataka would be playing for their state in the domestic one-day tournament while the Men in Blue would be locking horns with the remainder of the world.