Robin Uthappa, who Chennai Super Kings traded in from Rajasthan Royals ahead of the auction, says that he would prefer to don the opener’s role for the MS Dhoni-led side in the IPL 2021.
Uthappa has underperformed in the last couple of seasons, for Kolkata Knight Riders and then for Rajasthan Royals; feels that he was underutilized in the middle-order and could have done better had he batted at the top.
Uthappa, who now plays for Kerala in domestic cricket, has had a brilliant Vijay Hazare Trophy opening for his side. However, the opening slots in CSK, at least for the initial phase of the tournament, seem to be locked by Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis.
“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,” Robin Uthappa told Times Of India.
I have got the fondest memories with Dhoni: Robin Uthappa
The 35-year-old will reunite with his former India captain, MS Dhoni at CSK. Both the veterans go back a long way as they made their ODI debuts around the same time. Robin Uthappa was a crucial part of the side with which MS Dhoni won the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa.
“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,” Robin Uthappa added.
The 3-time champions will begin their campaign on April 10th against last season’s runner-ups, Delhi Capitals. All the matches will be plated in neutral venues, which means no home advantage for any team. The initial part of the tournament will be played behind closed doors.
“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,” the former KKR batsman further added.