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Robin Uthappa made a return to competitive cricket through the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament this week, following an ankle surgery that had kept him out of action for four months. Rejuvenated, and a long-time niggle taken care of, Uthappa spent almost a month at the KKR Academy, getting back to the grind with the help of of Abhishek Nayar, the lead coach and mentor of the Academy.

"Well honestly, it has been a learning curve for me - going through the injury, and then, the surgery," he tells "Medically, the condition (I had) is called Osteophytes, where after a particular bone or joint goes through some stress, it causes an additional growth where the bone naturally calcifies itself to bridge the gaps. It was impeding the flexibility and movement around my ankle, and I have had it for the last three or four years.

In October 2018, Uthappa went under the knife in London, UK, before setting out on his road to recovery.

"Immediately after the surgery, the range of movements around my ankle was almost twice as much as (it was) before the surgery even happened. So I am really happy to get it out of the way. I am happy to be back to playing cricket. I am working hard, and enjoying the rigours of preparing for the IPL right now."

Following a range of rehabilitation drills and exercises, Uthappa arrived in Mumbai to train at the KKR Academy in January, where he spent close to a month working with Nayar and Omkar Salvi.

"As I have batted more balls, and spent more time here in the middle, I've actually felt I have gotten better and better and better," he points out. "Every day that I have spent at the KKR academy camp - I've enjoyed every bit of it.

"It (Nayar's approach) is definitely out of the box, and something that seems to be working for me very well. Kudos to Abhi(shek Nayar) and Venky sir for actually coming up with the concept (of the academy), applying that concept and following through with it."

"So yeah, I am in a good place right now!"