Robin Uthappa smashed a half-century and a century in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, while opening the batting for India Green, and is looking forward to what will be an important domestic season for him. Uthappa has not played for India since 2008 but believes his route back to the national side could be built based on an insistence on opening and playing his natural game.
"I enjoy opening," he told the Times of India. "I play my best at the top of the order and when things go my way more often than not I put the team into a good position. When I played for the Indian team, I chose to bat up and down the order for the sake of the team. But now I will stick to the opening slot. It's a good start to the season and I will try to build on it."
In the first match of the Challenger Trophy, he reached 56 in quick time before playing a rash shot that led to his dismissal and a subsequent collapse, but Uthappa says he won't curb his attacking instincts.
"I am an instinctive player; when I feel like going for a shot, I back myself and go for it. There are advantages and disadvantages of instinctive and aggressive batsman. When it comes up right, it looks beautiful, but the same shot looks ugly when you get out. I am definitely trying to play longer because if I do that it would be beneficial for the side I am playing for. I am working hard on that, but you don't expect results overnight.
"I have played cricket one way all my life. It's better for me to continue playing the way I have been playing. If I play like Rahul Dravid or S Badrinath, I won't be very successful. I am going to play aggressively, that brings out the best in me. That's the way my team and people like me to bat."
Uthappa had a mediocre IPL 2011 for Pune Warriors, not managing a half-century in 14 matches, but says he has been in good touch for the last five months.
"I have been playing my natural game in the last four or five months. I enjoy myself when I open the batting and I really feel I am coming into my own. The season has just begun. It will be a very important season, especially with the Ranji Trophy coming up. I am ready for the challenge."