Robin Uthappa, the India one-day batsman, has joined the senior-junior debate by stressing on the importance of fitness. His comments follow statements on the same theme by Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, which in turn were prompted by their performances in the IPL.
When asked about probable competition from Dravid for a place in the one-day side, Uthappa said a different set of attributes were needed to play in the shorter version of the game. "In ODIs, one has to understand that with age, it gets a little difficult and in the beginning of their careers, the senior players didn't do as much physical training which has now become intrinsic," Uthappa told the Hindustan Times. "There is a certain level of fitness demanded now."
Uthappa also gave his take on the significance of fielding. "Frankly speaking, fielding plays a very integral part in ODIs these days. The younger legs make a huge difference," Uthappa said. "I'm not taking anything away from them [the seniors] - they are great cricketers in their own right - but youth does make a difference. And at the end of the day, winning matters."
Uthappa's comments come more than two months after India's one-day captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, triggered a controversy after a young team triumphed in the CB Series in Australia, when he said that it was "important to send the message across", which was seen as an indirect reference to the seniors who were dropped for the series.
India's victory came without the services of Dravid and Ganguly and it reignited the debate over whether India needed senior players for the shorter versions of the game, one which has carried on ever since Dhoni led India to victory in the World Twenty20 in South Africa.