We let our fans down: Uthappa

PWI wicketkeeper-batsman hopes his team can come back much stronger next year

Pune 20 May 2012
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, 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.
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