x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Robin Uthappa seeks an India recall

The flamboyant strokemaker said he would sacrifice his IPL gains if it means he could rejoin his idol Virender Sehwag in the national team.

Pune Warriors batsman Robin Uthappa.
Pune Warriors batsman Robin Uthappa.

Robin Uthappa, the out-of-favour India batsman, has said he would gladly give up his US$2 million (Dh7.34m) Indian Premier League (IPL) cheque if it would help him get back in the national team.

The 25-year-old played the last of his 38 one-day internationals in July 2008 but remains a hot property among the IPL franchises for his fearless power-hitting and wicketkeeping.

Uthappa hopes to shine for IPL newcomers Pune Warriors, who paid $2.1m for him in the player auctions, but his main goal is to use the Twenty20 tournament as a springboard to force a recall.

"I would do anything to play for the country," Uthappa said.

"Swapping the cheque would be a very easy thing to do, with my eyes closed. Coming back to the Indian team is the most important thing for me."

At home batting anywhere from one to seven in the game's shorter formats, Uthappa insists he has matured as a player in the nearly three years on the sidelines after being dropped for poor form.

"Unfortunately because of a shoulder injury, I missed an India comeback last year," he said.

"God willing, if I can better my IPL performance this year, I can certainly come back in the side. I missed playing for the country in the past couple of years but I think I have improved a lot as a cricketer. I have grown up and matured over the time."

Uthappa is a smart cricketer who blends aggression with improvisation in his knocks.

"You have to improvise, playing against top-class bowlers and against certain field settings. But you should be mindful of your improvisation as well.

"I used to play the scoop shot a lot but it's not my go-to shot anymore. Probably the reverse sweep and switch hit are.

"I try [the switch hit] in the nets very often. I'm a very instinctive player and if I feel the need to play it, I play it. Last year in the Bangalore nets, I was batting and suddenly felt the need to play the shot. Anil Kumble was bowling and I thought 'Well, if I can play it against Kumble, I can definitely play it against anybody.'

"I was lucky enough to pull it off against him and hit the ball a long way. That instilled a lot of confidence in me."

Uthappa said he had learnt to stay away from unwanted advice, fearing it might clutter his otherwise simple approach to the game. Batting advice is sought from Virender Sehwag, the India opener who has a similar "take-no-prisoners" attitude at the crease.

"One person I look up to is Sehwag, I guess we have a similar game. If I have to discuss my game with anyone, it would be him."