Only India can beat Australia: Uthappa

Robin Uthappa described the ongoing tour of Australia as the "most defining" of his career so far and a great learning curve for him.

updated: March 04, 2008 09:59 IST
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Promising Indian batsman Robin Uthappa on Monday described the ongoing tour of Australia as the "most defining" of his career so far and a great learning curve for him and the other youngsters in the team.

Uthappa said he had grown as a cricketer by playing the world's best team in their own backyard and would return home a better player.

"When I go back, I know I will be returning as a better cricketer. You are playing against the best team in the world in their home and it's got to make you grow as a cricketer. This tour would be the most defining tour for most of us," Uthappa said.

On fetching a price of $800,000 at the Indian Premier League players' auction, Uthappa said all this came with the cricketers' ability in their craft.

"We play cricket, do the job we love and the money that comes with it is a perk," he said.

Uthappa said India was the only team which Australia need to be wary about going into the tri-series finals.

"We are the only ones who can beat Australia. We bowled them out for 200 and once on less than that. We know if our batting clicks, we would be there.

"Still, we need to remember that scoring 200 in Australia is probably scoring 280 in India. The size of the ground and conditions warrant this adjustment in the scoring pattern," he said.

The Indians have had two days off and do not seem to have the same kind of intensity on the nets, but Uthappa had an argument in its favour.

"We have lots of cricket to play. At least four games to play on this tour and then more cricket is ahead. We don't want to be too intense. We don't want to go overboard (with our training) and too much easy either. We want to keep it pretty relaxed."

The Karnataka batsman attributed a few failures from his team's batsmen to the search for the right combination and order.

"It's a matter of time. In the five games we have played, we have shuffled around our batting a bit. Once the finals come up, we are sure we would have the right combination and be ready."

Uthappa has not had great returns in the tournament so far and has batted at number three or seven in the order.

"I had couple of opportunities. In Adelaide, I could have won the game for our country. Hopefully, I would have more chances up the order and can contribute with the bat. It's just a matter of time.

"I need to occupy the crease, spend time at the wicket. If you are thinking right, your confidence is good, you will contribute in due course," he said.

Uthappa then went on to explain the difference in approach at number seven from that at number three.

"When you go at number six and seven, the situation is already set, cut out for you. At number three you got to make the situation, it could be 100 for 1 or 2 for 1 and you have to build accordingly," Uthappa said.

"You must have an open mind to batting in different positions."

Uthappa went on to admit the mistake he committed in the game against Australia in Adelaide which India lost by 50 runs.

"I decided to manipulate the strike on the second or third ball of the over, work it around. I learnt from that game that one must look to take it to the end and then accelerate.

"I should have batted with the tail before throwing my bat around."

He termed skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni inspirational for the manner in which he had changed his approach to batting in the last few months.

"As a batsman, if MS Dhoni can change his style, any one can do it. We have learnt (from him) how you can cope with different situations," Uthappa said in admiration for Dhoni's recent penchant to look to stay at the wicket rather than allow his natural instincts to take over from the word go.

"Mahi (Dhoni) says if he can play till the end, the pressure would start mounting on the bowler and then if your quality is good, you would come out on top," Uthappa added.