Robin Uthappa betters the expectations of his coach Pravin Amre
Pravin Amre, the batting coach of Robin Uthappa had set him the target to bat for 18 overs in his innings against Royal Challengers Bangalore held at Eden Gardens. The batsmen not only met the target but surpassed the expectations of his coach.
"I asked him to play till the end of the 18th over. He gave me the bonus by staying till the end of the innings," Amre told ESPNcricinfo. "My motive for asking him that was because I was sure he would go past Glenn Maxwell as the highest run-maker in the tournament. That would give him more satisfaction," revealed the coach who is known for remodelling the batting approaches of many top players including Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane.
As rightly predicted by his coach, the explosive opener while registering his highest score of 83* in IPL, grabbed the orange cap from the Australian with his fifth half century of this season. He also created a record for 8th successive 40+ score in Twenty-20 format.
"A student like him is a coach's delight. You feel great when your work is recognised by your student. That satisfaction is different," Amre expressed his feelings. The 45-year old was recently apponted as Mumbai Ranji coach for a second time, took pride for his student’s success.
"He was getting the starts but the major challenge was to play all the 20 overs. To stay and play the 120th delivery is the biggest challenge in that format because you have to maintain a particular run-rate. Every pitch is different, every attack is different and to still perform in so many back-to-back matches was really nice to see."
The coach also was delighted to notice the change in mindset of Uthappa who is now transforming to a traditional batsmen.
"The way he hit that last ball with a pure cricketing shot. He anticipated that last ball really well and did not go for a big six. He has been consistently hitting boundaries without going for the big strokes. The whole purpose of us coming along was to make sure he would play the right strokes," said Amre.
“Today the other stroke I enjoyed watching was when he hit the spinner (Yuzvendra Chahal) for a six with a straight elbow and the full face of the bat. Earlier, he used to hit over midwicket effortlessly. But he has become better at timing and playing technically correct shots," Amre added.
The pair which joined hands in 2012 has been immensely succesful as Uthappa played an important role in helping Karnataka to a domestic treble last season. Uthappa was consistently visiting Amre at Mumbai where they put in some dedicated efforts which has made him an all new product.
The coach also explained that players have to keep it simple to enjoy success.
"I firmly believe your basics have to be correct for any format but more for T20. You can then survive and also be a match-winner. Normally in T20 players try to play extraordinary cricket. But for talented players like Robin if they stick to play normal cricketing strokes they will end up with an extraordinary performance."
After mediocre performances as a middle-order batsman in four of his first five innings he played in the UAE leg of this season, Uthappa requested the team management for a chance to open the innings, which is his favourite batting position. He went on to make consistent contributions everytime he strode forward to open. In eight successive innings as an opener, he has never been out for anything lesser than 40.
"He has created opportunities as an opener and made use of the opportunity of being an opener," Amre added.
On commenting about the Knight Riders reaching the playoffs with Uthappa’s brilliance, Amre put forward words of caution: "The knockout (stage) is a different tournament and that is why he has to keep calm. His contributions will again become important for his team so it is time for him to forget about the league stage and start from scratch."