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Uthappa to use IPL to make comeback
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Cuttack: Out of international cricket for more than eight months now, Karnataka batsman Robin Uthappa said he was hoping to make a comeback to the Indian team for defending the Twenty20 World Cup in England in June.

The 23-year-old, who last played for India in the lost final against Sri Lanka in Asia Cup in July 2008, was among runs again in the domestic league and counting on the productive season to regain his place in the national team.

"I would love to be part of the second edition of the Twenty20 World Cup. It will be great to be again a part of the side that won the first Twenty20 World Cup," he told PTI in a freewheeling chat on the sidelines of Zonal One-Dayers for Deodhar Trophy.

"I am looking forward to defend our World Cup with great amount of pride. Hopefully, after the IPL, god willing, if things go well, I should be there in the Twenty20 World Cup side. I am really looking forward to that."

The attacking South Zone batsman, who was dropped from Team India after Asia Cup following a string of poor runs, said it was quite a learning process being out of the side.

"It's a process of learning and I am taking it positively. I am taking this time to grow as a cricketer. I am taking this time to understand my batting, bowling and fielding... To contribute to the team more," Uthappa said. "I have been fielding, bowling well and keeping as well. I have been a 'keeper and can bowl a bit. These are things that will obviously count in a Twenty20 cricket or one-dayers. These are options that I have kept open," he added.

After a successful Ranji Super League season and a good run in the NKP Salve Challenger Series in which he was adjudged Man-of-the-Series, Uthappa is confident of carrying the momentum and making himself more competitive at the highest level.

"Greats like Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly have gone through the lows. Only because they have gone through the lows that they have come up so hard and high. I believe it's a matter of time that I will be back in the side," he said.

"Our team is doing fantastically well at the moment. It's wonderful to see our team performing so well. After winning the World ICC Twenty20, I remember saying the next 15 years will be the best phase of Indian cricket and we are realising the dream. We are literally dominating the world now which is amazing. We all are performing very well, bonding really well," he added.

Asked if he felt dejected not being part of the side having a golden run, Uthappa said: "I do feel the pinch that I am not there in the side but am not dejected. Yet, I believe without going down you can't come up. The Coorg batsman said this has been the most productive phase of his career having done well in Ranji Trophy Super League and leading his state Karnataka.

"This Ranji Trophy season has been a very good for me. I have been captaining the side as well as taking responsibility while batting. I have to make sure that I need to score every time I go in the middle and give the side a good foundation.

"Captaincy is something that has come as a surprise to me and it's working quite well for me. I am enjoying the responsibility. I worked with Rahul (Dravid)... Learnt a lot thing from him, Anilbhai (Kumble)," said Uthappa.

"I have learnt a lot about myself, what my limitation are. How to be successful with that limitation. How do to go about playing in different conditions... That's something I have learnt a lot this season," he said.

Uthappa, who spent sometime with Dhoni at his place in Coorg, said he shares a very good relation with all senior players including Tendulkar and everybody supports him a lot.

"I speak to Dhoni on and off. I have been learning quite a lot from Mahi. He is quite close a good friend off the field."

"On an off whenever I need something, whenever I have some doubts to clear, about the game especially the mental aspect of the game, I speak to Mahi (Dhoni). He is really good and level headed. He knows exactly what goes on in a game and how to make a decent move. I look up to Dhoni a lot. More often I get the right suggestion to make the right decisions," Uthappas said.

"There is also Sachin I speak to on and off. Viru has been a great source of inspiration. He keeps things very simple which is amazing. Irfan is a very dear friend. Whenever, I have a doubt or need some feedback, I always go back to these boys," he said.

Looking forward to open along side Jesse Ryder of New Zealand for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the second edition of Indian Premier League, he said: "I have played for Mumbai Indians against Royal Challengers at home, but it will just be great this time around to play at my home. We have some fantastic cricketers... There's KP (Kevin Pietersen), Rahul, (Dravid), Anil (Kumble), (Jacques) Kallis, (Mark) Boucher... In fact, I am relishing the prospect of opening the batting with Jesse Ryder."

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