Robin Uthappa Reveals Why he Left Karnataka for Saurashtra
The highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy 2014-15, the seventh highest run-getter in the 2015-16 Ranji season, the second highest run-getter for Karnataka in first-class cricket after Brijesh Patel, 21 first-class centuries, 48 first-class fifties, Robin Uthappa is one of the biggest names in Indian cricket.
However, what happened at the start of the last Ranji Trophy season was as surprising as Vidarbha winning the title.
Uthappa had played a pivotal role in 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons when Karnataka completed a rare back-to-back treble – winning the Ranji Trophy, Irani Cup and Vijay Hazare Trophy.
However, he decided to end his association with his home state after some forgettable turn of events in the 2016-17 season. He had managed only 328 runs in 12 innings with the help of one century and got dropped for the quarterfinal match against Tamil Nadu.
Reports suggested the right-handed batsman was set to play for Kerala but eventually ended up signing for Saurashtra. The 32-year old has finally opened up on why he took the bold decision and why his move to Kerala did not materialise.
“After last year when I felt I was not being valued as a senior player in my side, I thought I had to look at my career with a different perspective, challenge myself as a cricketer. By stagnating, you are only going backwards,” Uthappa told Cricbuzz.
The 32-year old went on to reveal why he chose to play for Kerala.
“I looked at Kerala because there was a sense of familiarity. I’m also a Malayali and the fact that it is down south (helps in understanding the place’s cultural ethos). The decision to move to Kerala was also because I saw a lot of potential in that side,” he said.
“I honestly believed that I could add value to the team in a manner that they could win championships. I believed they had no business playing plate for the last five years for the kind of team they have. I believed I could take them out of the plate, to elite and maybe even win one-day championship. That’s why I offered to go there,” he added.
The ex-Karnataka batsman further said how his move to Kerala fell through, revealing that a misunderstanding cost him a place in the Kerala team.
“It was pretty much confirmed that I was going to play for Kerala and then I sent them an email saying I’ll be available and will be very happy playing for them. I was a little delayed because I was on vacation. I had told them that I would email by July 1, but I emailed them on 4th or 5th of July. And by then, they had secured another player. So they thought because I hadn’t replied I wasn’t interested anymore. They went ahead and secured Arun Karthik.”
The delay to inform the Kerala officials had put Uthappa in a spot of bother, as he reached out to as many teams as possible to secure a team before being eventually signed up by with Saurashtra.
“I floated my availability around. A lot of them said ‘we will get back to you’. Saurashtra was the one to get back quickly. I just decided ‘whoever is going to comeback quickly, I’m gonna go with them’,” he revealed.
Speaking about his experience with his new side, he said:
“In spite of being in India, this is a completely different culture from where I’ve come from. This has been a really good experience for me in a manner where I’ve had to humble myself in a lot of ways. Despite being a senior, I’ve had to behave like a junior. You need to know to respect the egos of their senior players, who have represented the state for the last 8 to 10 years in spite of me being their senior. For me, that has been a huge learning curve.”
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