Robin Uthappa revealed that MS Dhoni made it clear to him about his position regarding the first eleven and that his inclusion in the squad had nothing to do with their friendship ahead of the season’s start this year.
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) traded in Robin Uthappa from Rajasthan Royals ahead of the IPL 2021 auction. The CSK skipper and the Karnataka batsman go back a long way – he was a crucial part of India’s 2007 T20 World Cup win under Dhoni.
CSK is Robin Uthappa’s sixth franchise; he has been part of the IPL since its inception in 2008.
“He (MS Dhoni) welcomed me and told me straight up ‘I had nothing to do with you being picked in the side. I don’t want anything to do with this because tomorrow I don’t want credit or brickbats for me favoring you.
“So, I know for a fact that I was picked solely on my ability and performances in the previous season,” Robin Uthappa said on the ’22 Yarns’ podcast with Gaurav Kapoor.
The former KKR opener also revealed that the CSK skipper had laid out bluntly to him that he wasn’t in the first eleven for the 3-time champions. Faf du Plessis and Ruturak Gaikwad, who replaced Shane Watson at the top last season, opened in the first half of the tournament and gave the side solid starts.
“The second thing he said to me ‘you’ll not walk into the first XI immediately. He said that we have had guys who have done well and we’ll see how things go and when we are closer to the tournament, I’ll know whether you are playing or not,” he added.
What I love about this set-up is the communication has been so open: Robin Uthappa
Further, the 35-year-old lauded the open communication CSK management have had with him. Robin Uthappa may not have played a single game in the first half, and perhaps wouldn’t feature in the second half as well, but he remains committed to the franchise as a support player, sharing his experience and learnings with the youngsters.
“What I love about this set-up is the communication has been so open. And I think that is so important for the success of a team. To be able to directly communicate to players as to what your expectations are. I think the success of a team is based on the energy driven by players who aren’t playing in the XI,” the right-hander siad.
The MS Dhoni-led outfit were brilliant in the first chunk of the season, winning 5 out of 7 matches, and sit on the second spot on the points table. CSK take on Mumbai Indian in the first match back on September 19 in Dubai.