The adulation and fame can get to you - Uthappa
Robin Uthappa, the Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman, has said that
while the IPL provides a great opportunity for youngsters to make a
mark, it also requires the ability to deal with the high pressure,
expectation and instant stardom.
"It depends on how level-headed the individual is. Sometimes the
whole adulation and the atmosphere is too much to handle," Uthappa said
on Cricinfo's audio show with Harsha Bhogle, Time Out.
"It can get to you; it can hit you in the face and get you straight
back to the ground and then you start wondering: is this the way to go
about it or should I actually take some time. It takes you a while to
understand whether you can go after the bowling immediately to hang in
there and wait for a while and then go after the bowling," he said.
Uthappa, who was a part of India's successful 2007 World Twenty20
campaign, drew from his personal experience to emphasise the point.
His exploits in the shorter versions of the game won him an $800,000
contract with Mumbai Indians in the first IPL auction in 2008,
pitch-forking him into the big league.
However, he was unable to sustain his form on the field, following
which he quickly receded from the limelight and was transferred to the
Bangalore franchise. After an eventless 2009 season, he has come into
his own in the third edition of the IPL, where he has been a smash hit.
Uthappa believes that the inability to handle the pressures of instant
stardom had a major impact on his performance.
"It did affect my cricket initially because I hadn't even factored in
the amount of money I was earning. It was a new concept and no one had
an idea that cricketers could actually earn this much.
Initially it did affect me but thanks to my upbringing and the fact
that I have a certain amount of education behind me really helped me
stay grounded and made me realise that this is just a part and parcel of
how cricket is going to be in the future and I needed to still focus and
do my hard work," Uthappa said. While the IPL offered a chance to create
an instant impact, Uthappa cautioned that it also created the pressures
of having to consistently deliver to private owners.
"I may have been luckier than few cricketers in the past but I still
needed to work hard and give 100%.
Cricket is played differently as far as the franchises are concerned.
You owe something to the franchises that you are owned by and you are
responsible for whatever you are being paid for. So you can't think this
is an easy way out and just go out there and play slam-bang cricket. You
need to certain amount or responsibility long with the fact that you are
earning a lot of money," he said.
Uthappa reiterated the importance of education and upbringing in
ensuring youngsters did not get carried away by the instant adulation. "Sachin
[Tendulkar] had a fantastic upbringing; the family he came from gave him
a sense of grounding. It is important for the parents and the people who
know the cricketers well enough to keep their feet on the ground.
"I am a graduate but when all this happened it was too much for me to
handle and it took me six months or so to realise I was losing myself
and that I needed to pull back and understand. Cricinfo