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IPL 2012 ended for the Pune Warriors India on a glum note with a thumping home defeat against the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Sourav Ganguly-led team have finished the season with just eight points from 16 games. After the team were done with their last match of IPL 2012, iplt20.com caught up with their wicketkeeper-batsman and senior player, Robin Uthappa.
He expressed disappointment about the fact that the team was not able to play according to its potential, but he marked out the positives that PWI achieved this season. He also rued the close losses that they suffered and stressed on the importance of developing the temperament to clinch games in pressure situations.
Can you put a finger on what has gone wrong with the team?
It’s hard to say at this point, but today, clearly the wicket got worse as the match went on. Even 130 looked difficult as it got very tough to bat. That’s, however, not an excuse as we have had a bad season. We began really well, but somewhere we lost the momentum.
How would you analyse this season for the Pune Warriors India?
We played close games this year, but on the whole, we were bad. As a unit, we never felt we were not up to the mark. We had quality players, we were a very strong side, but somehow results never showed that. Even the atmosphere in the dressing room was very positive. We lost games by five runs or seven runs, even by one run. Those kinds of defeats hit you hard. We couldn’t come back from there.
You spoke about the team not winning close games. Does that mean you guys need to work on mental toughness to handle pressure situations?
Yes, absolutely. There were so many games where we won 35 overs out of 40. Momentum is also very important in this format. When you lose momentum, nothing goes your way, and so you’ve got to respect the momentum and build on it.
How did you feel about your own performance?
As far as batting is concerned I had a pretty decent IPL. I scored 400-odd runs in 16 games. If I had some consistency at any given batting position, I would have had a little more. It was difficult to keep switching batting positions, but I need to work on that aspect. If we take care of these issues, we will come better next year.
How about your wicketkeeping? You seem to have become a specialist keeper now.
I have been working on it and it hasn’t been the greatest season as far as keeping is concerned. I definitely want to work on it. I am really enjoying it on certain wickets like the one in Pune where one ball turns and other keeps low. It keeps you on your toes and you can’t relax for a single ball. I am going to work on my keeping and batting as well. I would want to score 550 runs instead of 400 in the next season. What are the positives that the team will take home?
There are quite a few performances and Steve Smith has been exceptional. Guys like Callum Ferguson – he is such a great team player and having him in the dressing room is fantastic. Even Jesse Ryder, for that matter. Even though we didn’t do well this season, we enjoyed ourselves as cricketers. If we go on to win matches and be in the top four, the atmosphere in the dressing room is going to be so much better.
How much did the team miss Yuvraj Singh?
We have missed Yuvi a lot. The kind of impact that he creates on the field is tremendous. We are pretty sure that he will be back next year for us.
How was it playing under Sourav Ganguly?
I think Dada has done the best he could do and you have respect his age well. It’s the format that is most challenging for someone of his age. He has done a wonderful job for us in whatever capacity he could.
How has the experience of playing at Pune Warriors India’s home ground been?
To be completely honest, we feel that we have let the supporters down. We want to apologise to the people in Pune. Even though we lost games, they came in large numbers for every match. Even the afternoon games were full and they didn’t mind coming to support us in insane heat. There were so many times that we kept telling ourselves that lets win games for them, they sit in so much heat and support us. Hopefully, the wicket gets better; it’s the toughest wicket we have played in the country and its very difficult to score runs here. Hopefully, it gets better and we have belters next season.
Indian cricket has a rich and varied heritage, and there are innumerable men who have dedicated the best part of their lives to make Indian cricket what it is. In what has come as a pleasant surprise to them, the BCCI has decided to present over 150 former Test and first-class cricketers with a lump sum in honour of their contributions. This one-time cash benefit scheme of Indian cricket’s parent body will materialise thanks to proceeds from the IPL 2012 playoffs. We spoke to a few beneficiaries of his gesture from the BCCI, and here’s what they had to say:
A wonderful surprise
S Venkatraghavan (57 Tests)
It’s a noble and a magnanimous gesture on the part of BCCI to recognize the work done by the previous generations, who in their playing time probably didn’t have the benefit of seeing this scenario. The other day, I met Nari Contractor and he told me that he used to get Rs 200-250. In those days, it was a sheer pleasure to wear the Indian cap and play for the country and the money was a secondary issue. BCCI has recognized the fact that the previous generation has done a lot for the country and this gesture is exceptional by the board. Ajit Wadekar (37 Tests)
We are really thankful to the BCCI. I had spoken to Rajiv Shukla about this and he said it was the president Mr. Srinivasan who took the initiative to pay the ex-cricketers. We are glad that the BCCI is doing this. In this era of inflation and the high cost for everything, this is a great step ahead by the BCCI. In earlier days, there was hardly any money in cricket and we played without even demanding any money. So, we are grateful to the BCCI for appreciating our services to Indian cricket. A boon for retired cricketers Venkatraghavan: All the players in earlier days played cricket and also worked for various companies and must have retired by now. This money will definitely be a great help to them in their post-retirement life. This will go a long way in helping them sustain their old age illness or injuries. Probably BCCI might also think of giving them insurance allowances.
Wadekar: There are plenty of players who will be helped by this. Players like Ajit Pai, Umesh Kulkarni and there are Ranji Trophy players also who have been considered. There is a huge difference between the Ranji Trophy and the Test players when it comes to the amount being paid. These players will be highly benefited by this. Also, at our age, medical expenses also start building up with the cost of living. I would like to thank BCCI for this initiative
IPL proceeds Venkatraghavan: IPL is a good thing for the cricket and the present generation of cricketers, and it has sustained the interest of everybody. It is being played at the time when people can relax and watch it in the evening. Everything has a negative aspect in life, but I am sure the BCCI will come out with the proper solution to clear all the allegations on the IPL.