Former Indian player Robin Uthappa has recalled a conversation with legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar. He talked about how Tendulkar told him about a sportsperson's struggles to maintain fitness after a certain age.
Robin Uthappa made his international debut in 2006, 17 years after Tendulkar's maiden game. Tendulkar retired two years before Utthappa played his last game of cricket. While Tendulkar is considered one of the best Indian cricket players of all time, Uthappa was often in and out of the team.
However, Robin Uthappa did win the 2007 T20 World Cup with the Indian team and made a name for himself in the IPL and domestic tournaments. His 660 runs from 16 matches to grab the Orange Cap in the IPL 2014 remains fresh in the memories of his fans.
Talking exclusively to Sportskeeda's Indranil Basu on SK Live, Robin Uthappa remembered how he wanted to play till he was 40, and how Tendulkar's assertion at the time proved to be right. He recalled the time the duo played together in the 2007-08 Commonwealth Bank series.
"I remember in 2008, we were playing the CB series and I was 21-22 and Paaji (Sachin Tendulkar) was well into his 30s. He was telling me how difficult it gets to manage the body after 33-34. I said, 'Paaji look at you, you are so fit you have played the game for over 20 years, how can you say that?' And he said, 'Robin you will realize after you go past 30-32,' and I denied that," revealed Uthappa.
He asked how long did I think I would play and I replied, 'Paaji I will play as long as I am fit maybe till 40!' He said I will speak to you when you are past that age. Fast-forward 12 years from then and I will very sheepishly and modestly say that Paaji was quite right," said Robin Uthappa.
As sportspersons, we physically abuse our bodies: Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa also explained how sports, especially cricket, take a toll on the body of an athlete. He talked about the transition from one's 20s to 30s and how the body starts reacting differently.
"I remember when I got past 32, a lot of your body just stops responding in a lot of ways than it used to do before. The transition is very quick. As a sportsperson, you abuse your body. Our mechanics and the human body is not necessarily built for sport," said Uthappa.
"So we are physically abusing our body and we try to balance it with our training and diet. Then you suddenly see that you can't abuse your body after a certain point in time. It's a dichotomy because you are so used to training so much and now you have to find the balance," said Robin Uthappa.
Robin Uthappa played 59 international games for India and scored over a thousand runs. After spending most of his IPL career with the Kolkata Knight Riders, the 35-year-old played as an opener for the Rajasthan Royals in the 2020 edition of the tournament. He will be in action for Kerala in the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.Published 09 Jan 2021, 20:31 IST