Home > Cricket News, Interview > I don’t fear any bowler: Uthappa

I don’t fear any bowler: Uthappa

MUMBAI: With his bundle of big energy Robin Uthappa provided the new Team India with the gilt edge at the World Twenty20 and also in the recent clash against the Australians. His positive approach and awesome abilities have impressed everyone. The stocky and robust Uthappa seems here to stay with promises to deliver more and big in future. 

Excerpts:

We’ve seen a new Robin Uthappa post the Caribbean World Cup. What has brought about the big change?

I am a lot more open-minded now and that has worked for me. It has helped me use the opportunities that have come along. I’ve always said that I’d bat anywhere in the order if required, and I was again open to that idea. For me, the wont to do it was there and it has really worked.

Where do you draw all your positive energies from?

It’s just the way I am. I’m a very positive person. The fact that I’ve got a bunch of youngsters with me in the team also really makes the difference. I really enjoy the fact that I play with some very good colleagues, people who call spade a spade and who are honest. Also, from my faith. I am a believer in the Lord and I believe he’s got a purpose for everybody. And my purpose is to play for the country to the best of abilities. It’s a real good feeling.

You’ve played some good knocks of late but haven’t gone on to score big. Any worries on that count?

You do feel bad when you fail to get a big score. But, I enjoy the fact that I could contribute to the team and make the difference. That is what really matters. To score valuable 30 or 40 runs is also important as it could change the course of the game. A hundred is equally important and I am now looking to consolidate, score big. I believe in my abilities. Big scores will come.

Where did you learn playing the walking shot?

It’s something that I’ve actually picked up from Aussie opener Matthew Hayden, with my own little additions and subtractions to it. It works well for me. Basically, I visualise what I need to do. Even while preparing to play a shot, I see it in my head first. I only play it when I realise I can do it. I don’t practise these shots, it’s played more on confidence.

Do you fear any bowler?

Nobody in particular. But I find South Africa’s Mornie Morkel good. He’s sharp. I am yet to come across someone who’s exceedingly good.

Sunil Gavaskar feels you should bat up the order. What’s your take?

I have no complaints. In fact, I love playing the new ball. I firmly believe that there is no better place to bat than right at the top in any form of the game.

How difficult is it to shift from Twenty20 to One-Dayers?

Not much but going back is the big problem. Your muscle memory goes awry. You just keep going after the bowling and forget that you need to be calculative.

Are you yearning for a place in the Test team?

Yes. Very much. That is something that I really want to do and hopefully I will play well in the future and get there. In fact, most of my runs in domestic cricket have come in the longer version of the game. It suits the kind of player I am.

People are talking about some flaws in your batting?

A lot of people have been talking about my big initial movement and playing across, something that I have being trying to correct over the years. But things are in my control and I’m trying to iron it. I am doing my best to ensure that the bad habits don’t come back.

You have played under Rahul Dravid and now MS Dhoni. How different is their captaincy?

Both are very good and there’s not much difference between them. But their approach has been different. Dhoni’s ability to remain so cool and confident in any pressure situation makes him different. Who would give the ball to Joginder Sharma in the last over of the final. Also, the confidence Dhoni showed in RP Singh after he was hit for four overs in Mumbai (against Australia). In comparison, Dravid is a lot more composed and copybook in approach. I guess, Dhoni has his own style of doing things.

What has brought about the big difference in this Indian team?

Most of us have a similar approach. We have also played together at the junior levels. All of us have the on-your-face kind of attitude. It is that confidence which we’ve carried along into the team and maybe it’s showing.

Do the juniors find it difficult to get along with the seniors?

There is nothing like senior and junior in this team. This is the best phase of Indian cricket. Everything is so wonderful. I can put an arm around a Yuvi or a Bhajji and talk to them. It’s really really nice to have people like Sachin Tendulkar and others also around, who care for the youngsters.

Do you think there is a need for a chief coach?

A coach would surely make some difference. Strategies will be different, we can have more team meetings and the fringe players would be kept ready.

Isn’t too much of ODI/T20 cricket tiring?

It could be tiring. The body doesn’t have much time to recover, sometimes your mind also needs time to recover. Then you need to be strong to play so much cricket and you need to exercise to gain strength. I guess good space between games is good.

Will there be less pressure playing Pakistan than Australia?

Pressure will be pretty much the same. India-Pak always sees high-intensity games. But we are quite high on confidence at the moment. We made Australia quite uncomfortable. This is not the Indian side of the old. We aim to carry the same zeal forward and hopefully win the series, both ODIs and Tests.

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