Robin Uthappa was acquired by Chennai Super Kings in a low-key affair considering it took place outside the auctions as a trade from last season’s bottom-ranked Rajasthan Royals, but the three-time IPL champions bagged an experienced batsman who is in a rich vein of form.
Robin Uthappa, who now plays for Kerala in domestic cricket, is among the top 10 run-getters in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this season with 377 runs at a staggering average of 75.4 and strike-rate of 131.81.
Robin Uthappa Definitely Likes To Play As An Opener Since He Thrives At The Opening Slot Getting Team Off To A Good Start
Robin Uthappa’s recent returns have instilled his confidence ahead of his stint with his sixth IPL franchise. His runs for Kerala have come as an opener and his success in the IPL too – most notably for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) – came when he was batting at the top of the order. It makes his position clear that he wants to open the batting and win matches for CSK rather than a bat in the middle-order.
“I would definitely like to play as an opener. It is where I naturally thrive. Getting the team off to a good start and winning matches for the team is what I am most comfortable doing. In the last few years, people have tried to use me in positions that I am not necessarily good at. It is probably why you have seen a dip in performance. But whenever I have opened the batting, I have done really well,” Uthappa told TOI during a chat on Wednesday.
Robin Uthappa Have The Fondest Memories Of MS Dhoni And Opens Up On Home Advantage Being Nullified For All Franchises
Robin Uthappa will have to battle for the opening slot with young Ruturaj Gaikwad, who finished last season promisingly, and the experienced Faf du Plessis. With Robin Uthappa and MS Dhoni going back a long way – 2004 to be precise – the latter will know how to get the best out of the 35-year-old.
“I have got the fondest memories with Dhoni. We met for the first time during a Challenger Trophy campaign and played an NCA (National Cricket Academy) match together around 2004. We were very close when we were playing for India together. Since then, we have always been in touch. Our families are pretty close to each other as well. Our relationship has grown over the years. Even our kids are friends today,” reflected the man from Karnataka.
As CSK intensify their preparation for the IPL 2021, the players will have to adapt to the fact that they will not be playing at the spin-friendly MA Chidambaram Stadium. It was a factor that hurt their chances in the UAE last year.
The acquisitions of K Gowtham and Moeen Ali in the recent auction were also done bearing the conditions in mind, but Robin Uthappa is satisfied that it is at least a level playing field is in store for IPL 2021 with no team getting the luxury of home conditions.
“It is definitely a level playing field since no team is playing at home. As we are playing in India, spin will still play a role, especially at the back end of the tournament. It is unfortunate that we are not playing at home and in front of our fans, but home advantage is being nullified for all teams,” he said.
The MS Dhoni-led CSK picked up Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara for his base price of Rs. 50 Lakh. The team failed to qualify for the playoffs last season for the first time in IPL history in the United Arab Emirates. They ended as the seventh-rank side in the league stages with only six wins from their 14 matches. In the 2021 edition, the franchise would be expecting better results with the return of Suresh Raina and the acquisitions of Moeen Ali and Robin Uthappa.