In a few years time, Robin Uthappa will look back on his career with a lot of pride, but also a tinge of regret. The Karnataka star broke in to the national side just ahead of the World Cup in 2007, as his belligerent batting at the top made him an ideal partner for Virender Sehwag.
The tournament was a disaster for India, and at 22, Uthappa feared for his future as an Indian cricketer. His luck would change though in a few months time, as Uthappa was one of the stars of India’s triumphant T20 world cup in 2007.
But unfortunately for Uthappa, his once promising India career fizzled out within a year, as the Karnataka star was dropped from the side owing to poor form and lack of consistency. After a few years out of the side, Uthappa came back in the reckoning after some good performances in the IPL.
After playing well for various franchises, Uthappa was bought by KKR in 2014, which turned out to be an inspired choice by the franchise. Uthappa top scored with 660 runs in the tournament, and played a big part in KKR’s second IPL trophy in three years.
Now back with the Kolkata franchise, Uthappa hopes to captain the side, although he does not mind playing in any capacity.
“Of course, I am. I’ll be honoured if the opportunity came along but it’s for the think-tank to decide — whatever role they want me to take, I’ll give my 110 percent. Adding value to my team as a cricketer is crucial to my game.
“The initial five or six years of the IPL, I moved around a lot, so for me to find one place I could call home was important. The people back in Kolkata are absolutely fantastic, they’ve treated me with so much love and care. Even the team management has stood by me right from the time I joined them.
Uthappa also reserved some praise for the exciting Shubnam Gill, and feels that he will be a top player for the club.
“(Shubman) Gill has got a very strong game, I think he’s a naturally aggressive player. And he looks very versatile at this point in time. Obviously, the variations and pace (in IPL) are going to be different — it’ll be five or 10 clicks faster. It’s about acclimatising to the conditions but I feel these guys will do great because of the kind of exposure they’ve had at such a young age. The next few years are going to be strong years for KKR.”