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Shuffling Sanju Samson up and down the order hampered Rajasthan Royals' chances in IPL 2020: Robin Uthappa

Sanju Samson started IPL 2020 with back-to-back match-winning fifties for Rajasthan Royals (Photo: BCCI)
Sanju Samson started IPL 2020 with back-to-back match-winning fifties for Rajasthan Royals (Photo: BCCI)
Modified 10 Jan 2021, 08:41 IST

Indian cricketer and Rajasthan Royals’ (RR) batsman Robin Uthappa believes that shuffling Sanju Samson up and down the batting order is among the reasons for the side finishing at the bottom of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 points table.

Sanju Samson started the tournament brilliantly, smashing two back-to-back match-defining fifties from the No.3 spot. However, from the fourth game he was pushed to No.4, and it didn’t reap good results.

Ultimately, the Kerala wicketkeeper-batsman finished the tournament with 375 runs at an average of 28.84 and a strike rate of 158.9.

During an interaction with Sportskeeda on Facebook live, Robin Uthappa opined that the RR team could have done a few things differently.

“A lot of planning didn’t go the way it should have gone. The fact that Sanju (Samson) was moved up and down the order far too often didn’t serve the team well. He should have batted at one position throughout the tournament. A settled batting order didn’t happen which created insecurity in the group,” said Uthappa, who himself had a dismal run in the tournament, scoring just 196 runs from 12 innings at a strike rate of 119.5. 

Robin Uthappa, who is now Sanju Samson’s teammate in Kerala as well, further emphasised how IPL tournaments are won by the Indian players and not the foreign stars.

“Tournaments like IPL aren’t won by your foreign players but domestic players. It’s often a missed fact. If you check all the previous IPLs that have been won, you will see the Indian contingent doing well. The foreigners have complemented those performances. But it’s not the other way around. If things are the other way around then things start falling apart,” Robin Uthappa added.

Royals, the champions of the inaugural edition, were a star-studded line-up led by Australia’s Steve Smith and coached by former Australian cricketer Andrew McDonald

Apart from Steve Smith, the side had international superstars Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer at their disposal. 

Citing an example of the lack of planning, Robin Uthappa stated that the team’s bowling department struggled despite Jofra Archer finishing as the Most Valuable Player in the tournament.

“The opposition were seeing off Jofra Archer and attacking the other 16 overs. There weren’t contingency plans. If those things are addressed then without a doubt, we will be one of the contenders. 
“You can have a stronger group on paper, but if you don’t get that chemistry right then it’s hard to get the desired results despite the wonderful line-up,” he further added.

Care and love within the Rajasthan Royals’ team is unreal: Robin Uthappa

Robin Uthappa praised the franchise owners as ‘fantastic human beings’ and said that he had never experienced such love and care within a players’ group before. 

Robin Uthappa's full interview

It’s a big statement because Robin Uthappa has been a part of the triumphant 2007 T20 World Cup Indian team and in the past 12 years, he has played for sides like Mumbai Indians (MI), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Pune Warriors India (PWI) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

“The care and love within the group is unreal, and I haven’t experienced it before, to be honest. There’s genuine love and connection between the Indian boys. There’s a genuine desire for your teammates to succeed, which is hard to come by in today’s competitive world. That hurts the most that you have such a bunch, but there are so many pieces of the puzzle you don’t pay attention to,” the 35-year-old batsman said.

Robin Uthappa was the highest run-getter in the 2014 IPL season, helping KKR lift the IPL trophy for the second time. 

The Indian cricketer, who last donned the Indian blue jersey in 2015, will be seen playing under Sanju Samson for Kerala in the 2021 edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Published 10 Jan 2021, 08:41 IST
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