Robin Uthappa reveals plans for Team India comeback and what role he is targeting
There was a time when Robin Uthappa was being looked at as the next big thing of Indian cricket. Yes, he was part of the Indian team during the dismal 2007 ICC World Cup outing and eventually became a world champion the same year, as India won the inaugural ICC WT20 in South Africa.
But the attacking batsman could never fulfil his potential, getting dropped at the expense of players who cemented their position in the team. Uthappa made couple of comebacks in limited overs cricket till as late as 2015 but could never become a regular in Team India. Uthappa averages a shade under 26 in 46 ODIs with 6 half centuries to his name.
In the shortest format, Uthappa scored 249 runs in 13 matches and that is where he still harbours hopes of a comeback.
“Right now I want to be competitive. I still have that fire burning in me, I really want to compete and do well. I honestly believe I have a World Cup left in me, so I’m pursuing that, especially the shortest format. The blessings of Lady Luck or God or whatever you call it, plays a massive factor. Especially in India, it becomes so much more evident. I don’t think it is as evident when you’re playing cricket outside of India. But in the subcontinent and India especially, with the amount of talent that we do have in our country, all of those aspects become evident.
“You can never write yourself off. You would be unfair to yourself if you write yourself off. Especially if you believe you have the ability and you know that there is an outside chance. So I still believe in that outside chance. I still believe that things can go my way and I probably can be a part of a World Cup-winning team and play an integral role in that as well. Those dreams are still alive and I think I’ll keep playing cricket till that is alive,” Uthappa told ESPNCricinfo.
Unlike his India stint, Uthappa has had a fairly successful stint in the Indian Premier League. After spending the initial years in wilderness, Uthappa hit gold with the Gautam Gambhir-led Kolkata Knight Riders team. He formed one part of a successful opening partnership and was part of two title winning campaigns.
Uthappa feels the fact that he had to bat lower down the order for India when he made his comebacks contributed to him not settling down in a position.
“When I played for India [in 2007 and 2008], I scored all my runs opening the batting. Then [in his comeback phases] I ended up playing for India in the middle-order, which seems so... from one perception it seems very unfair,” the former Karnataka batsman said.
“That kind of cycle has repeated itself maybe three or four times in the three or four comebacks that I’ve made in the Indian team. I scored all the runs up the order, and I got to bat in the middle-order when I got back in the Indian team,” he added further.
Uthappa though has targetted a particular role to try and make a comeback into the Indian team and said that he has been working hard to poilish those skills.
“Opening the batting is something I can do at any point of time. I’m trying to make sure I’m well equipped to bat in the middle order as well. One of the things that we need today in Indian cricket is a good finisher, and that’s something that I’m pursuing and working hard on. It’s something I’m looking forward to improving on a day to day basis,” he said.
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