Robin Uthappa embarked on a fresh chapter in his career at the BGS grounds here on Monday, when he turned out for Kerala Cricket Association against HPCA in the Dr. (Capt.) K. Thimmappiah Memorial cricket tournament. Uthappa, who had spent the two previous seasons with Saurashtra, signed up with Kerala recently.
Making his first competitive appearance for his new side, Uthappa remained unbeaten on 25 at the close of play as Kerala CA reached 38 for one in reply to HPCA’s 208.
“It feels good,” the former Karnataka batsman said here on Monday.
READ: Robin Uthappa set to play for Kerala
“Kerala was always my first option after Karnataka because of the connection on my mother’s side. It’s a team I always felt I’d play for at some point. This is a great bunch of boys, a team with a lot of potential.”
Blending in with the team was no trouble, Uthappa felt, not least because he spoke fluent Malayalam. “The only remotely challenging thing with Saurashtra was the language, even though I picked it up over the two years. It’s an issue I don’t have this time. I speak the language. Plus I've played with a lot of these boys before – Sachin Baby, Sandeep Warrier, Rohan Prem, and K.M. Asif. It's been great interacting with the players,” he said.
Uthappa was troubled by injury last season, missing the Ranji Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy for Saurashtra. He even underwent surgery on his ankle in the UK before returning in time for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and then playing in the IPL with KKR. “I'm physically fit, I'm happy,” he said.
READ: Fit-again Robin Uthappa set for comeback
“I’m looking forward to a good season ahead. We have a great bunch of fast bowlers, some good young players. Kerala got to the Ranji Trophy semifinal last time; we need to build on that. Let's play to our potential and see how far we can go. Obviously, the goal is always to compete for championships.”
Uthappa played 101 first-class matches for Karnataka, scoring 6865 runs with 18 hundreds, and was part of the all-conquering side that won successive Ranji Trophy titles in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
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