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Rovin' Uthappa

From opening the innings to batting at No 8, the Karnataka bat has seen it all. But the youngster says he doesn't mind it, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2008 02:32 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

It's known as a batsman's game, especially the limited-over varieties. The rules are loaded in their favour, but life can still be difficult if you are an opening batsman who has to bat at No 8, 7 or even No 3.

Robin Uthappa is experiencing this at the moment. Having made his debut at the top of the order, he lost that slot some time back and on this tour, the story has not been any different. But the Karnataka youngster refuses to express dismay.

Asked to explain the difference in approach if one has to come in at No 3 from No 7 in a matter of just a few days, he said it was a question of mindset. "Down the order, when you come in with few overs left, your job is already cut out. You know what you have to do. Coming at No 3, irrespective of whether it's 10 for one or 100 for one, you have to build the innings for the ones following."

Coming to Australia with the reputation and experience of scoring some brisk runs against them back home, Uthappa hasn't got much of a chance so far. He got the time to bat with overs and partners remaining in three games and failed in all of them.

"Of course runs matter, but I'm not too unhappy with what I've done so far. I have been batting well and it's just a question of occupying the crease now, before the runs start coming. I should have done better in the opportunities I got, but I am feeling good and looking forward to contributing."

He said he didn't mind batting down the order after helping India win a match on the England tour last year. It was at the Oval where Yuvraj Singh went for five sixes in the last five balls of the final over of the first innings. "It has changed my perspective about the game. I have learnt that this game is about keeping an open mind and not thinking about a particular slot in the batting order."

Eloquent and smart, Uthappa is one of the faces this new Indian team is all about. As has been said earlier, he hasn't got a fair run at a position he is accustomed to either. Maybe when his turn comes, he will let his bat do some talking as well.