Uthappa had a dream debut as he scored a well compiled 86, opening the innings at Indore. He was given a decent run since then and was also part of the 50-over World Cup squad in 2007. The action shifted to South Africa for the inaugural edition of the World T20 the same year and Uthappa had a good beginning before fading away. However, he played all the matches in the tournament, which was won by India.
However, his form dipped after the Asia Cup in 2008 and with the emergence of Virat Kohli, Uthappa was overlooked by the selectors. A good 2013-14 season for Karnataka despite missing out on a few matches early in the season saw him back in the national frame and he had done enough to convince the national selectors again and he was picked for India again after six years for the tour of Bangladesh in 2014. However, lack of consistency was his bane and he left out of the team after another try in 2015.
Uthappa’s skirmishes with his state board led to his exit from Karnataka and he was signed up by Saurashtra ahead of the 2017-18 Indian domestic season.
IPL through the years
One of the few players who have featured consistently across all the years of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Robin Uthappa’s career blossomed only after he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), ahead of the 2014 season of the cash-rich tournament. The seeds for an impressive IPL career was first sown at the 2007 World Twenty20, where Uthappa played a prominent role in Indian annexing the first-ever World T20 championships.
Buoyed by his performance, Mumbai Indians shelled out US $800,000 to avail of his services. It turned out to be a disappointing first season for Uthappa with the Mumbai-based franchise and he was traded with Zaheer Khan as he shifted base back to home at the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), ahead of the 2009 auctions. It was however in 2010 that Uthappa started flourishing, first for RCB who played him as a finisher and then as a lead batsman for the now defunct Pune Warriors India. His performances meant he was always in high demand and Uthappa joined Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014.
Putting in a stirring performance, Uthappa shone in his role as an opener, bagging the orange cap, with 660 runs, which included a record breaking sequence of 11 40+ scores. It was this consistency that helped KKR bag the coveted trophy for the second time. Uthappa has since been a constant in the KKR franchise, although he has never been able to top the stats of 2014. The runs stopped flowing consistently from his blade, but his ability to counter-punch and his wide range of strokes meant that he remained an integral part of the KKR franchise. However, an underwhelming 2018 and 2019 forced the management to do the unimaginable, and they released him for the 2020 auctions where he was signed up by Rajasthan Royals who had themselves released Ajinkya Rahane. It’s likely that Uthappa will take up the opener’s slot for RR.