Robin Uthappa will be plying his trade for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2021, as Rajasthan Royals let him go after a just solitary season. The 35-year-old is looking forward to turning up for the men in Yellow, revealing the details of a special conversation with MS Dhoni after his move was confirmed.
Robin Uthappa and MS Dhoni go long back, with the duo part of India’s T20 World Cup win in 2007. MS Dhoni has a known entity for Robin Uthappa, which led to many speculating that the CSK skipper personally called for the trade deal to take place.
But in an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Robin Uthappa denied that was the case, revealing details of the conversation between the two veterans.
“He, in fact, called me. He said, 'I want you to know that I didn't make the decision about you coming in here. It was actually the decision of the leadership group, which involved the coaches and the CEO'," Uthappa said.
Robin Uthappa lit up the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year, helping Kerala qualify for the quarter-finals for the first time in eight years.
He batted at the top of the order and scored 377 runs in six games, doing so at a stunning strike rate of 131.81. Sharing further snippets of his conversation with the CSK captain, Robin Uthappa revealed how his move to the franchise was a team call.
"He also said - and that's what I love about him - 'I didn't want anyone to think that I was the one picking you. I wanted you to get into the team with your own ability and with your own skill. And when it came to me, I said, please ask everybody else in making the decision about you. Because anyone might feel 'because MS is there, Robin got here'," said Robin Uthappa.
Robin Uthappa was thankful to MS Dhoni for the support shown by the captain. He admitted such a vote of confidence helps a player’s self-confidence ahead of a big tournament like the IPL.
“It is amazing, right, when there is that level of honesty. I truly appreciate that. For me, I know that I have gotten there by my own skill, by my own credibility. That is what I love about MS. You want to play for a leader like that, who gives you that confidence that, 'Hey, you have come in here by your own credibility. I've done nothing'," Robin Uthappa said.
Robin Uthappa wants to open for CSK this year
After being one of IPL’s most bankable batsmen, Robin Uthappa has struggled to get going in the competition in the past two years.
After going past 350 runs in a campaign for seven years straight, Robin Uthappa failed to go past 300 in the last two IPL seasons.
Ambiguity around his batting order hasn’t helped, with Robin Uthappa constantly pushed down the order to accommodate younger stars in the batting lineup. Ahead of IPL 2021, the batsman wants to open for the Chennai Super Kings, saying in this regard.
"Oh yeah, absolutely. That's where I know my stuff (on whether he ;wants to open. I know how to get the team off to a good start, I know how to win games from that place. It comes very naturally to me. It is something that I've done my entire career. I have been open to taking up the challenge of batting in the middle order, but it is not something that comes naturally to me. It is not something that is comfortable for me."
It remains to be seen whether Robin Uthappa gets his wish. Ruturaj Gaikwad ended IPL 2020 strongly, with N Jagadeesan having a strong domestic season as well.
With players like Faf du Plessis and Sam Curran also in the Super Kings ranks, it is unclear where Robin Uthappa could fit in the CSK lineup. However, that will get clear when CSK take on DC in the second match of IPL 2021 on April 10 as per the IPL timetable given by BCCI.