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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Cricket

Words on Uthappa’s bats narrate an inspiring story
Gautam Gambhir, Hindustan Times
May 15, 2014
First Published: 23:47 IST(15/5/2014)
Last Updated: 23:52 IST(15/5/2014)
Kolkata Knight Riders' Robin Uthappa plays a shot during their IPL match against Rajasthan Royals Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad. (PTI Photo)

They are very attractive, curvaceous and most importantly do the job. They’re just right in weight and that combination of blue in the middle and yellow on the top looks energetic. Well, you can kill your drooling, wandering thoughts as I am only talking about Robin ‘Robbie’ Uthappa’s bats. They seem well-balanced, weigh a moderate 1200gms, the yellow grip on the handle and blue stickers on the blade make them attractive. Most importantly, they sound melodious when Robbie hits the ball.

But for me the real story of Robbie’s bat is on its back where two words ‘believe’ and ‘become’ summarise my cricket, and my life. If you believe, you can become and if you become your self-belief gets even stronger.

 

Keeping faith

I call it the ‘Believe and Become’ cycle. I went through this in this tournament. The three consecutive ducks had sowed seeds of doubt. I started to think: Do I have it in me? Do I belong to this place? The answers to all these questions seemed hazy.

The ‘believe’ part of the cycle was fractured and I was searching for it frantically in each practice session, each game, each night as I slipped into my bed in my hotel room in the UAE.

Then I saw these two words written in bold on Robbie’s bats. I won’t say they were magical but they definitely carried a story. I wanted to believe in myself and in my abilities. Just before the game against KXIP where I scored that one run after three ducks, I told myself: ‘Right, today is my day. I am good. I just need to watch the ball and react.’

First ball I was nearly out and that army of doubts came running back. I stayed resolute and shut the door firmly on them. I scored that one run. We lost the match but I knew I had got the grip back on my game. I believed. I was sure that I will become, once again.

Working wonders
I think those two words on Robbie’s bats are working wonders on him as well. Once again he batted superbly against Mumbai on a pitch not ideal for strokeplay. I think the entire team shone through. Morne Morkel’s initial spell was very crucial and so was Manish Pandey’s role in partnership with Robin.

I’m glad that Yusuf Pathan spent some time in the middle. The guy has been coping with a lot of flak from everyone. Such was the over-the-top reaction to his failures that sometimes I wondered if Yusuf’s form will get more airtime than exit polls!

I’ve always said that dropping a player is the easiest thing in sport. But the real reflection of a more stable system is when the hand is held out to pull a drowning man out of a whirlpool.

You can say that I learnt all this from my own experiences when I started out. In my initial days as a youngster when I was desperately searching that ‘believe and become’ cycle, I never got that hand to pull me out.

But I want to extend the same to all the youngsters like Manish or Suryakumar Yadav or the struggling teammates like Yusuf. May Yusuf go from strength to strength.

It is an off day for us and I’d be keenly watching the results of the polls. I so wish that we don’t get a potpourri government. I am sure I am not the only one not wanting an assortment of ideologies.

Kaizen Media Solutions

The writer is the skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders


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