Well done Robin Uthappa! You have taken so many big steps in your short career already. Don’t you think so?
Well I think it has been a decent progress, I have done pretty well for myself in the initial part of my career. But it is important that I continue to do well with the given opportunities. I am looking forward for it as I am enjoying every minute of the time I am getting to spend with the Indian team. It has been a dream come true and I will try to stay as long as possible.
Did you expect playing for the country so soon? I mean you don’t really have great averages in the first class matches, just about an average in the mid 30s or so…
Definitely I would have played for the country, the thing with me was that I got picked on the basis of my One Day Statistics. My average was quite high in the mid 40s or even the early 50s and that is what I thought had pushed me into the side. So the One Day Matches like the one in the Challenger Trophy mattered more for me.
In your Debut match at Indore itself, you scored 86 smashing the English bowlers all over the park in front of a packed house…
Well it was a good experience to play in that game. It was a great opportunity to show what I could do and I was glad that I could give my best in contributing towards the team’s success in chasing a big total.
So 86 is what you could make on ODI debut, but you could have easily jogged your way in making a century. How did you get out, of course most of us have seen that, but would love to hear from the horse’s mouth about that dismissal.
Actually I was cramping a bit and I was struggling to run because of that. I had no idea that the ball was coming to my end. When I saw the fielder, I thought that he was throwing to the non striker’s end and I didn’t get any call from the non striker that it was coming to my end and I was kind of caught in nowhere there. Probably it would never happen again in my life.
I thought the catch of Kevin Pietersen’s at the mid wicket boundary was a confidence booster for you. Could you recall that moment for us and you were seen celebrating it with the crowd…
Well yeah, it was great as I have always been very keen on my fielding. I always want to do well with the fielding as it always boosts your confidence to do well when you are batting as well. So I was glad to pick the first catch of my career in my first game itself, I was pretty lucky. The crowd was pepping me on and I just turned back to say thank you, it was a nice moment.
You have batted along with Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag in the 3 ODIs you have played, so what exactly were they telling you in between overs?
Rahul Bhai was very encouraging, he was telling me to just hang in there and be positive. In that game at Indore, it was all about not losing too many wickets and as long as we gave a good opening stand, we knew that 290 could be chased. We were trying to rotate the strike and keep all the positive thoughts in our mind and bat alongside. Veeru Bhai…I batted with him only once in the West Indies, I did not bat a long time in that game. Just while walking in to bat, he had told me to stay relaxed and was saying a thing or two on what the bowlers would do. I didn’t really get any runs in that game, so that was something I missed out in batting with Veeru Bhai.
It must have been lots of pressure on a 20 year old opening the batting against the arch rivals Pakistan. How was it like inside?
Well there wasn’t any pressure, I totally enjoyed the fact that I was opening against Pakistan. It was something I have always thought of atleast 100 times in my mind of opening the batting for India against Pakistan and I was very happy that it became a reality, so felt really good about that. Unfortunately I couldn’t get some runs in that game, but in the future, I am sure. I am a lot more mature player now; I am growing older and learning more about the game, so I should do well in the future games.
In the 3 ODIs that you have played, it looked that you were off colour in batting on slower wickets. So do you have that in your mind and working on that aspect of your game?
I like the wickets that basically allow the ball to come onto me and the ones that we got in Abu Dhabi and West Indies were slightly on the slower side. That’s something I am working on, playing on such wickets. I have learnt few things and done some work on it with the help of Greg Chappell and Ian Frazer. I have spoken to few senior players who have given their inputs on this and I am looking forward to bat on these tracks, these are something that come into picture quite often.
So tell us Robin, what is the difference that you found out in facing an Under 19 attack compared to a full fledged International attack?
There is a whole lot of difference because the experience is a whole lot more and the loose deliveries that are available in the U19 Cricket are very rare to get at the International level. I think experience is a huge huge factor between the Under 19 and the International attacks.
Well getting out to an intimidating bowler like Wavell Hinds wasn’t the best moment you had in your career. How did you feel at that moment?
No no..that was one of the worst times in my life. That dismissal can be held in the same lines as my first match run out. I was actually expecting one of the fast bowlers to run in and bowl. I hardly got any time to prepare myself during the short lunch break and there was hardly any time in turning my back and getting ready in between balls, but that was no excuse. It was very odd to face some one who bowls just medium pace first up, probably I should be getting used to such things.
Anyway let’s keep the cricket aside for few seconds, tell us how your stay in the Caribbean was? Tell us about some of the interesting things that you had encountered there?
Well nothing much interesting had happened, I was there for hardly 15-16 days, but it was great being with the side. Cricket wise, I have learnt a lot and I have definitely come out from there as a much richer cricketer and thanks to the support staff, I have learnt a hell lot. And also the Seniors, talking with them and sharing a few thoughts with them and they giving me their inputs on my game has been a major help to me. I have come back and started to work on them. We basically trained most of the time and we had to play 5 ODIs in the space of 10 days. So if we were not playing cricket, we were either spending time traveling to the next venue or practicing. That was all about it, we never got to see many places but St.Kitts was a very beautiful country.
So what’s your next short term ambition in your career?
I am looking forward for this India A tour of Australia, it is a very good one. We have been training well for sometime for this tour and personally I have started preparing for it ever since I got back from the West Indies. I am keen to do well on this tour and it should be fun.
Well are you also looking forward to play the next ODI Series that is coming up in Sri Lanka? With Sachin Tendulkar coming back, the slots might just vanish…so what are your thoughts about that?
That’s something really far ahead to think of because I have this tour of Australia to focus on right now. I am taking one step at a time and given the opportunity, I will definitely give my best for the country.
One last question, how do you spend your time when you don’t have any cricket?
Well when I am not playing cricket, my time goes in traveling and when I am back home for few days, I spend lots of time with my loved ones. I like driving the car, on long drives not the traffic nowadays. Otherwise I love listening to music and sit on the internet and that’s about it.
BV Swagath : Well folks, I remember in my first interview with Robin Uthappa, which was more than a couple of years back; his ambition was to cement his place in the Karnataka Ranji Squad. So he has gone a long way since then and today he is promising out to be an exciting and a dashing opening batsman for India.