Soon after ‘winning’ the Orange Cap from Glenn Maxwell, Kolkata Knight Riders opener Robin Uthappa thanked coach Pravin Amre for his amazing run in the Indian Premier League 2014. With 572 runs in 13 matches this season, Uthappa is the second batsman after Kings XI Punjab star Maxwell (533) to complete 500 runs or more in IPL 7. The former India batsman is now the leading run-getter in the present competition.
“Thank you, coach,” an excited Uthappa said soon after KKR thrashed Royal Challengers Bangalore by 30 runs to storm into the playoff stages of the IPL. Uthappa had appointed Amre, the former Indian Test batsman, as his personal coach in 2012.
Man of the Match Uthappa struck an unbeaten 83 off 51 balls for his best IPL score this season. It was his 13th IPL fifty and the 20th in T20. More than the runs, it was Uthappa’s ability to play all the 20 overs that was critical as he became the first batsman to post eight successive innings of 40 or more in the IPL.
“Batting (at Eden Gardens on Thursday) was not easy but I stuck to the basics. I did not look much at the scoreboard,” the 28-year-old Uthappa added. Amre will be proud of his ward’s achievement.
“I asked him to play till the end of the 18th over. He gave me the bonus by staying till the end of the innings,” Amre told. “My motive for asking him that was because I was sure he would go past Maxwell as the highest run-maker in the tournament. That would give him more satisfaction.”
The best gift a coach can get is when his pupil translates vision into deeds. Bangalorean Uthappa has been doing just that since he moved to Mumbai and rented an apartment in Khar to find his way back to the Indian team. He last turned out in India colours in a T20 International against South Africa in Johannesburg in March 2012.
Apart from appointing Amre, Uthappa roped in former India physio John Gloster and Arjun Gautam, a mental conditioner. He is probably the first cricketer to hire an entire professional team to improve performance. “So, what we are seeing now is the result of his hard work over two years,” Amre said.