Friday, January 29, 2010

Robin on Ranji Heartbreak

It was glory for Mumbai for the 39th time and heartbreak for Karnataka after the latter lost a closely-contested Ranji Trophy final in Mysore earlier this month. A dogged century by young Manish Pandey notwithstanding, Karnataka lost to the defending champions by just six runs.

India discard Robin Uthappa, who captained Karnataka, following Rahul Dravid's exit from the squad because of Team India duty, looks back on the final and his own form this season.

'There was a lot of hype surrounding the game and we were under pressure to perform in front of our home crowd. In every game one side has to win, and this time it was Mumbai. It was a closely-contested game and exciting from the word go. The intensity and pressure was immense, and since there was so much riding on it, on several occasions tempers frayed. This itself shows the amount of pressure that was on both sides.

"Although we would have loved to be on the winning side, I would say that that I thoroughly enjoyed the game. It was a good game of cricket. The boys worked hard. They are all in their second season and, hence, there was a lot of cricket behind them. The fact that they played so well and reached this stage is a great achievement by itself.

"I would like to make special mention of Manish Pandey, who played his heart out in the game. Mark my word, he is a boy for the future! The manner in which he is coming up the ranks is extremely good. He played an excellent knock; the boy really played his heart out!

"Well, there are several lessons we learnt from the game. The most important is that when we had the advantage with us, we should not have given them a chance to come back. This was an error that cost us.

"It happened a couple of times with us during the last season when we had the advantage and let the other side come back. We have realized this and are working on this aspect.

"About my personal form, I am unhappy. I have underperformed this season. I scored just 400 runs compared to 1,200 runs last year. However, I am working on it and believe that form is a temporary problem. One needs to be honest with himself and believe in hard work. I believe in hard work and I know I will return to form.

"The presence of Rahul Dravid would have made a huge difference to the side. It is unfortunate that he had to leave at the last moment when we had to play the final. Regarding Rahul, what do I say? We would have loved to have him with us. More than the runs, I am sure his presence alone would have made a huge difference to the side.

"On whether it was a blunder to chose the Mysore pitch over the Chinnaswamy ground at Bangalore, I would say that it would have been a safer bet chosing the ground at Bangalore. However, we chose Mysore since we wanted a result in the game. We wanted a result in the game. The wicket at Bangalore was not condusive to our strength and, hence, we chose Mysore.

For Karnataka cricket, the match was a huge stepping stone. We are working on our weaknesses and I am sure that we will overcome all small problems. Karnataka cricket will only go forward from here onwards and the boys are working hard towards it. We will improve and are confident of playing better cricket in the next season.

"We are hopeful of lifting the trophy the next season."

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