Robin Uthappa talks about sledging incidents with Australians
How a young Uthappa shut up an old Hayden. And what happened when Symonds called him, of all things, a monkey!
Robin Uthappa spoke about some interesting on-field incidents on a recent chat show, including one where Andrew Symonds once tried to intimidate him by calling him a monkey. Two countries had once reached a point of war when Symonds had alleged that Harbhajan Singh had racially abused him by calling him a monkey, and so this new revelation throws an interesting light on the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal.
In a match in Hyderabad, while Uthappa was batting, Symonds went up close to him and whispered in his ears several times – ‘hey monkey! hey monkey!’. As Uthappa continues in his revelation, he looked up from his stance at Symonds, and replied, “Hey Symmo, have you looked in the mirror lately?”
He also said that this was all done in a spirit of jest, saying that they were both easygoing characters but that not everybody would be as flippant. 2008’s Australia tour is a reminder, when the Indian team were on the verge of facing an ICC ban for staging a walkout for the perceived insult, and Indian communities everywhere seethed that ‘tere maa ki’, a local North Indian curse used to vent anger, as had been certified by Sachin Tendulkar, had been misconstrued to be ‘monkey’.
Uthappa also spoke of an incident during the 2007 T20 World Cup, when he had been in his earliest playing days, and could still manage to shut up Australian Matthew Hayden. While Uthappa had been batting, Hayden had not given him a moment’s rest, and so Uthappa decided to retaliate when the Australian’s turn came to bat.
Hayden then said to Uthappa, “I’ve played eleven years of international cricket. You need to respect me.”
At this Uthappa replied, “Haydos, I think you're forgetting that respect isn’t demanded, it’s earned.”
Hayden was castled a few balls after, as also claimed by Uthappa.
Uthappa also held forth on several other things on the show, like how he bakes for the Kolkata Knight Riders team, the conscious change in his approach towards batting, and how his wife and coach Praveen Amre were two characters who he has blindly relied on every step of the way.
He spoke of a period of crisis during 2011-12, when he had decided to give up cricket and start a new profession somewhere else in the world, and how he overcame several issues and got his career back on track.