Interview

I truly believe my turn will come: Uthappa

Robin Uthappa interview

At the scenic MCA International Stadium in Pune, Robin Uthappa has spent a lot of time. On Wednesday, he featured in his 19th IPL game at the venue, the joint-most with Steve Smith on this ground.

While RPS captain Steve Smith struck an unbeaten half-century, it was Uthappa, who had a near-perfect day. The KKR wicketkeeper-batsman first effected three sharp stumpings and then blasted 87 from 47 balls to guide his team to the top of the points table with a seven-wicket win. Two of those stumpings were off the bowling of Kuldeep Yadav, who foxed MS Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary – two excellent players of spin bowling- with his googlies.

The 183-run target seemed like a walk in the park as Gautam Gambhir and Uthappa shared a 158—run stand - the second biggest partnership for KKR - that deflated the home team’s bowling attack, which was depleted due to Ben Stokes’ absence. The victory was special, as not only did it halt RPS’ three-match winning streak, but it was Gambhir’s 100th match for KKR.

Deservedly named the Man of the Match for his all-round effort, Uthappa shared his thoughts with iplt20.com after the seven-wicket win.

Three stumping dismissals followed by a fabulous knock. It was a perfect day for you.

It was an important innings. They batted well to get 182 and we pulled things back after the 16th over. They batted well again in the last two overs, so we knew we had to keep the run-rate going even after the first six overs. We could not take our foot off the pedal and were looking to get nine runs from every over and we were in a very good position by the 15th over. All in all, it was a very good day.

MS Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary were not able to pick Kuldeep Yadav’s googlies. How much time have you spentwith him in the nets?

Obviously, you keep to him as often as you can in the nets and that helps in understanding what he is bowling and when he is bowling it. Also, during the course of the game you understand what the batsman is doing and what the bowler is probably going to bowl. So, there is a sense of anticipation as well. It worked today for me and I am very happy.

Is Kuldeep Yadavthe most difficult bowler you have kept wickets to?

Piyush (Chawla) is an extremely challenging bowler as he has different kinds of googlies. It is hard work keeping to all our spinners (Sunil Narine, the third spinner in the side), but I enjoy the challenge. It makes keeping a lot more fun.

You’ve been putting up consistent performances for KKR. How important is this season for you considering there are big tournaments lined up?

It is as important as any other season. It is important to keep performing and I have been doing that. The dream is to play for India again and represent the country in Test matches. The dreams are there but one can't think too far forward. You want to stay in the present and give your best foot forward. I believe hard work never goes unnoticed. I truly believe my turn will come.

You were opening the batting for KKR but now it is Sunil Narine. What changes do you need to make when you are not facing the new ball?

As a batsman, you lose out on the advantage of batting in the first six overs. I have immense faith in my batting; I know I don't need that kind of advantage to score the runs that I need to score for the team. I back myself and I am really confident and sure about my batting.

The 158-run stand is the second biggest for KKR. What keeps your partnership with Gambhir going?

Gauti(Gambhir) and I understand each other very well when we are batting. We understand the importance of strike rotation and support each other in that sense. When we take a decision on the field, we really stick to that decision, and when you do that, it works in your favour.

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