Robin Uthappa is in a happy space at the moment. There is his six-month-old baby to cheer him up all day and his VIVO IPL team is topping the points’ table. Uthappa has been with Kolkata Knight Riders’ since 2014, but the 11th season is different. While the core has remained the same, KKR’s captain and Uthappa’s batting partner has changed.
With Gautam Gambhir leading Delhi Daredevils, the KKR reins have been handed over to Dinesh Karthik. The change at the top has led to a change in the middle order and with Karthik taking up the role of a finisher, Uthappa has now moved to No. 3. While he did open in the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Uthappa will largely be the one-down batsman assigned the task of an anchor.
The senior member of the side is delighted to have the opportunity of shaping KKR’s chase or keeping the momentum by batting aggressively if they are setting a target. “I have been constantly working on my game and I really enjoy this format. I feel I am in a good place and I am hitting the ball better and better every day. The responsibility of playing the anchor role is getting the best out of me. I am really enjoying this stint,” the batsman told iplt20.com soon after his knock of 48 from 36 balls that guided KKR to a seven-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals.
With the batting order looking solid, the KKR have opted for the strategy of going all out with their top order. Even when either of the two openers – Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine – falls early, Uthappa has been batting aggressively to mount pressure. “With DK (Karthik) in the middle order, it gives us a bit of more freedom to go after the bowling and play more positively. It suits my game a lot more. I am enjoying the freedom to go out there and express myself.”
Their first away win on Wednesday night propelled KKR to the top of the table and Uthappa now wants to cash in on the momentum that they have. “We have done very well so far. T20 is about momentum and right now we have got the momentum and we need to respect that and play to our potential. Hopefully, we will go all the way.”
His wife Sheethal and his son have been accompanying him. He admitted his life has changed after the arrival of their bundle of joy. ‘Being a dad and playing cricket are the two things I love the most. I am at a very nascent stage of being a father. I am learning a lot. I am happy to change nappies but my wife does not let me do that (chuckles). Fatherhood has opened a new dimension in my life, which I haven’t experienced before. It is truly amazing.”