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PWI wicketkeeper-batsman believes in playoffs dream
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Pune 04 May 2012
After the initial high of mingling with the IPL elite with early wins, the Pune Warriors India find themselves struggling to maintain their peak form. Four successive losses have seen Sourav Ganguly’s side fall to the eighth spot on the IPL table. Stuck in a slump, PWI will require extraordinary performances to book their place in the all-important IPL Playoffs.
Robin Uthappa has shown glimpses of his talent in IPL 2012. Some consistent performances at the top of the order have even propelled the 26-year-old to the seventh spot on the season’s highest run-getters’ list. Despite the right-hander’s contribution, the Warriors have struggled either with the bat or the ball to find themselves near the bottom of the table. But Uthappa is hopeful of a comeback. The desire to make the final four still burns bright in the PWI squad and with the addition of Michael Clarke, Uthappa believes the job can be done. Excerpts from a brief chat with Robin Uthappa. Do you feel you let this one go from your grip?
It’s so hard to say when you lose by one run. There are so many ifs and buts when you lose by one run, like we could have run one run harder or shouldn’t have given a wide or boundary, etc. It has happened with us quite a few times with us this season but this is cricket.
You must have backed yourself at the halfway stage to get to the target.
We were batting so well and we knew we had a chance. The wicket was a little difficult to bat on as the ball was keeping low and gripping. We thought if we went down to the wire we would give ourselves the best chance and we did go down to the wire but unfortunately couldn’t pull this off.
How is the team dealing with this drop in form?
I think it has been that kind of season for us but we still have five games to go. We are a very strong side and we have been doing really well. We are not a side that has been dominated; we have lost a lot of close games. We came out pretty hard today and bowled really well but we have to get our batting and bowling going at the same time. All of us are working really hard and all of us want to win really badly. Hopefully we can do it in the next five games. Playoffs very much on the agenda?
I think it’s wide open. If we win games four of our remaining games, we will make it there. What does Sourav Ganguly bring to the table apart from his cricketing ability?
He brings in a lot of experience and a lot of ideas. Someone who can give us a good piece of advice as far as cricket is concerned. He speaks so well about the game because he has a lot of knowledge. He has been one of the best captains the country has produced and has scored more than eleven-and-a-half thousand international runs. There is so much to learn from that guy.
One element in your game that you would like to improve on?
I would want to improve my keeping skills. I have been doing this part-time keeping job for quite some time now and I would definitely want to change that. How does Michael Clarke fit into the squad?
It’s good to have someone fresh in the side and he brings in a lot of positivity. He captains the Australian Test side and has been doing well for himself so he brings in a lot of positive vibes. He has been motivating the boys also. Can PWI make the playoffs?
We still haven’t lost anything. There are five games to go and we will take it one game at a time.
Utility man hopes MI pick momentum after one-run win over local rivals
By Hoshedar N. Gundevia
Pune 04 May 2012
Mumbai Indians haven’t quite reached their peak levels of excellence in IPL 2012; it has been a tough season for the franchise with injuries and patchy form halting their progress. But the tide seems to have turned with their latest last-gasp one-run win over the Pune Warriors India.
MI all-rounder James Franklin has delivered more often than not this season. His batting ability has seen him open the innings with Sachin Tendulkar while his bowling has been nothing short of competent. The utility man for the IPL 2010 finalists, Franklin considers himself entirely at the disposal of the team, willing to perform whatever role skipper Harbhajan Singh deems fit.
The lanky Kiwi spoke to iplt20.com after what he considered to be a vital win over the Pune Warriors India.
Do you see this close win as a turning point for the team?
We desperately needed this to get a little bit of momentum. We have won games and then lost straightaway; it’s good to win two in a row. To defend 120 was a hell of an effort by the bowlers and the fielders. We are really happy to get there. Did you sense a derby-like atmosphere at the ground?
They came to our home track and beat us convincingly there; it’s nice to win one on their home turf though it was a very tight game. The crowd here in Pune is fantastic and we can’t ask for anything more.
Did you feel you had enough on the board?
Yeah, we did. There was a strong chance, although we under-performed a bit with the bat. It wasn’t the best track in the world so it was a case of bowling nice and straight and forcing the batsmen to hit over and through the gaps. I think the bowlers did a great job by taking it right to the end. Do you think MI are peaking at the right time?
It’s very much one game at a time. We have got two wins in a row and we would like to make it three in a row. We have big games coming up; we still have to play KKR and RCB twice and we have got CSK on Sunday, so that’s the immediate focus. How would you describe your role in the side?
I bowled three overs in the last game and three today. Whatever job Harbhajan [Singh] wants from me, I will do my best. It [depends] on him whenever he uses me and I am willing to do whatever he wants me to do for the team.
Do you think you are still to find your rhythm as a team?
It’s been really patchy. We are still trying to improve and are working hard in the nets. Hopefully things start working really well and we can finish this campaign strong. What has your evolution from bowler to batsman been like?
I am still working hard on my bowling but I think my batting has taken over in the last few years. I have got a little bit older and a little bit wiser and realised that longevity in the game is batting and not bowling. I am trying very hard with the ball – I am definitely not what I was six years ago – but I still think I can bowl and take wickets.