" In reply, Australia chased down the target with ease, reaching home with seven wickets…
Mumbai,G Krishnan: For someone who scored 86 in his maiden ODI more than nine years ago, Robin Uthappa has only 43 appearances in the one-day format. Surely, he ought to have played a lot more games than that.
But inconsistency saw him being left on the sidelines for close to six years from July 2008 to June 2014. Even after he came back into the Indian team for the short ODI tour of Bangladesh last year, he couldn’t manage to cement his place.
Nine years since his ODI debut is a lot of time. During this period, while he tried to sort out his game, players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli marched ahead.
But the man has no regrets. Looking back at his career so far before departing for Zimbabwe, Uthappa said: “I can look back and say a lot of things could have been so much better. I could have had my head on my shoulders when I was young. To be able to capitalise on the opportunities that I got when I was young, unfortunately or fortunately, that did not happen.
“I have been through this amazing journey where I have learnt and grown a lot as a person and as a cricketer. Today, I would not exchange that for anything. I love where I am as a cricketer. I love the growth I have made as a batsman and as a wicketkeeper. I don’t regret it. Everyday seems so much better for me. I wake up every day with so much love for the game than that I had a few years ago. I enjoy the game and really value it.”
And there is one big reason he is looking forward to this tour.
“Pretty excited to get a complete series,” Uthappa said.
The team management might not have revealed anything, but Uthappa is sure of donning the wicketkeeper’s gloves on the tour, though Kedar Jadhav and Ambati Rayudu have kept wickets for their IPL teams.
“I assume I will be keeping because I am the only one who’s been keeping in domestic cricket and have been doing a fairly good job.”
For someone who kept wickets in school days but later concentrated only on batting, going back to wicketkeeping was not tough.
“It is challenging but you look at the India colours, the India flag and it was worth the wait, worth the struggle. You want to get out there and represent your country and win matches for your country. That is what motivates me. I think there is no big a high for me than that as a cricketer. I wake up every single day wanting to win matches for India. Am doing everything to get there and to be able to do it consistently,” said Uthappa.
Having turned out for India only in the shorter formats, Uthappa’s dream is to play Tests.
“My biggest goal is to play for India at the Test level. That is something I am working on. I put in all the work to make sure I will be able to represent my country in Test colours and win matches for India on that platform. That is the dream that I am chasing. Definitely playing for India in ODIs and T20s was also big part of my dream but Test colours are what I am aiming for.”