Primed for the clash: Uthappa

Primed for the clash: Uthappa

“How many times they have won is only for the record books,” the Karnataka skipper said on Sunday. “I don’t think it counts for this game. They still have to play another match, they still have to turn up in the morning and play bat and ball. We have done exceedingly well, we are focusing on our strengths. We have not lost a game, we have not given the lead away this season.”

Uthappa was delighted with the strip at the Gangotri Glades. “Obviously, it is a wicket which will help our fast bowlers,” he observed. “We are playing to our strengths and why not? We are playing at home and looking to exploit our strengths. Our fast bowlers have done exceedingly well and we are looking to back them so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.”

By opting for a pace-friendly surface against a decent Mumbai quick-bowling attack, the Karnataka think-tank has also shown great confidence in its own in-form batting line-up. “Our batsmen have done exceedingly well,” Uthappa pointed out. “We have scored about three and a half thousand runs this season. We have a number of hundreds from different batsmen through the batting order. The atmosphere in the dressing room is absolutely fantastic, we are looking to take that confidence into this game.”

Uthappa admitted that Rahul Dravid’s absence was a huge setback. “Surely and definitely, we will miss Rahul. Just having him around in the dressing room is a huge confidence-booster. The boys have really enjoyed having him around. He would also have loved to play in it. Rahul was telling the whole side how much he wants to play another Ranji final and how much he has enjoyed playing this season.”

Uthappa’s men alsoreceived further shots in the arm over the last couple of days, first when Javagal Srinath spoke to them on Saturday and then when Anil Kumble spent time with them in the dressing room on Sunday afternoon, after they had finished their training session.

Uthappa said the team was primed for the final. “For most of us, it is our first time in the final. We are focusing on the process which is very important.”