Robin Uthappa outlines goals as he gears up to lead Kerala in limited-overs this season
Uthappa recently moved to Kerala after a stint with Saurashtra and said that he enjoys the leadership role. @ PTI

After being named skipper of Kerala’s limited-overs squad in his maiden season with the state team, Robin Uthappa has highlighted the need to give players “more security” to further improve their performance.

Uthappa, the two-time Ranji Trophy champion with Karnataka, recently moved to Kerala after a stint with Saurashtra and said that he enjoys the leadership role.

“Well, whether in Karnataka or Saurashtra or even at KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders), I have always had a role within the leadership group, as a senior cricketer in the team. So even when I was not the captain, I had a role as a senior player. I’ve always enjoyed it,” Uthappa told ESPNcricinfo.

“And as a senior pro, I have done my bit. So why not? We have a wonderful bunch of boys and … when they asked me, I was happy to take up the offer. All of them, I think of them as younger brothers and I can add value to the team,” he continued.

READ: Robin Uthappa to lead Kerala in limited-overs cricket

“This (The Kerala offer) was supposed to come through a couple of years ago, but didn’t happen at the time, and then Saurashtra. My two years were up with Saurashtra and Kerala were looking for a professional and it looks like the perfect fit,” added the 33-year-old.

While Kerala made it to their maiden Ranji Trophy semifinal in the previous season under Sachin Baby, the Kerala Cricket Association is yet to make any decision about who will lead the Ranji side.

Uthappa, however, added that Sachin Baby has been a huge help and will continue to be so.

“Ranji is quite far away, right now the focus is on … it doesn’t matter who leads the side. There is mutual respect within the group. The team’s had its own journey, everyone is happy, and I’m waiting to get in there and be part of it. Who the captain is is inconsequential. It’s a happy unit. Sachin Baby has been a massive help for me. It’s a different team culture too, and he has been a huge help. He is going to be a huge help. It’s quite a good atmosphere,” said Uthappa.

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The right-hander also said that he is looking forward to a partnership with Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning coach Dav Whatmore. Uthappa also praised the side which is “committed”.

“We have a World Cup-winning coach, he brings great value within the group that I will also try to learn from. We have been in touch on and off. We have a little time to go for the Vijay Hazare, so we’ll work out the permutations and combinations between now and then,” said Uthappa.

“It’s an extremely talented bunch of lads. There’s a lot of hard work. They are very committed. Well, they could do with more of direction and intention as far as winning tournaments are concerned, instead of just doing well and participating. But that will happen as we go along. I think what we will be looking for is a bit more consistency. If we can provide the players with more security about their positions, then performance will be the next step,” concluded Uthappa.