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Hyderabad: Feb 2, 2014
Robin Uthappa, the Karnataka opening batsman has praised his team’s effort to win the Ranji Trophy 2013-14. The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad witnessed the Karnataka team paint the town red and celebrate a victory to savour.
It has truly been a team effort throughout the season with each player stepping up and performing. “Individually, everyone worked so hard. Everyone has seen each other work hard and collectively, we have worked hard. When you see your teammate working hard on his skill, you want to work hard on your own as well,” Uthappa said.
The team spirit in the Karnataka ranks was remarkable throughout the season. One could see a very united front; even during the final they were on the boundary cheering their troops. Uthappa said that there was no senior-junior culture in the dressing room.
“We just wanted to make sure that everyone is as comfortable as they can be. We all know what it takes, how a kid feels to come into the side, the pressure that he could be experiencing. We try to ease it up by putting an arm around his shoulder or chilling with him or go to a meal with him or make fun of him.
“It is not a collective decision so to speak, but one of the seniors would hangout with him. Suddenly, there is no senior-junior, it is one big family,” Uthappa said.
Incidentally, Uthappa was injured and missed a major part of the season. He returned for the quarter-finals and instantly contributed to the team’s cause when they were in trouble in that game against Uttar Pradesh. “Each one of us takes a lot of responsibility for our own performances and our contribution towards the team. When I came into the team, I was itching to contribute to the team. At 15 for three (in the first innings in the quarter-final against Uttar Pradesh), I said there could be no other better time to contribute to the team.”
And through all that, Rahul Dravid served an inspiration and Uthappa kept in touch with him during his recovery from injury.
Speaking about the belief in the camp, Uthappa said, “We collectively came together and started believing. We started approaching it. By the time we won the quarter-finals, few of us were having dreams of what we would do after winning. It’s really worked.” Uthappa also admitted that he dreamt of winning the Ranji Trophy during the quarter-finals and shared it with the whole team.
Uthappa also emphasized on the importance of winning the Ranji Trophy. He described the difficulties that go into making it happen for any side. “It is a test of character. You play for four days and you have three days and you need to travel from north to south and go to another centre. You need to win, you need to rest; there are so many things. God forbid you have an injury that point in time, you need to nurse it.
“There are so many things that go on, so many emotions go behind this. It is such a jam packed tournament. In two and a half months, you are playing 11 games – 45 to 50 days of cricket. When you go through so much, you see the importance of winning it,” Uthappa concluded.
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