Mumbai: Comeback-man Robin Uthappa believes he has learned a lot during his absence from the Indian team's ranks and said that he was not looking too far ahead in his on-off international career.
"I enjoy playing cricket. It feels good to be back in the side after the one-off game against England in October, to be back in the midst of things. I am taking it one game at a time. It's a great opportunity and am looking forward to it," the 26-year-old hard-hitting batsman said about his recall to the national team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Uthappa is the only change in the Asia Cup squad led by Dhoni at Dhaka in place of Sachin Tendulkar for the one-off T20 international against South Africa to be played at Johannesburg on March 30.
"It's a one-way journey, where you learn a lot along the way. I certainly have had a lot of learning, am looking forward to playing international cricket again," the batsman, who has kept wickets in junior cricket, said.
"It requires a lot of hard work (to make a comeback). You need to learn and understand about yourself a little more, need to know what works for you and trust your instinct and routine so much more, back yourself so much more," he said.
"I was a very raw player when I played initially for the country (in 2006 when he made his ODI debut against England at Indore). Domestic cricket has been a big boon for me. Even IPL has been great, a place where I have learnt a lot about myself, what works for me as an individual, as a batsman, as an athlete. That has been the learning for me over the last three years," he added.
Uthappa, here to lead Karnataka in the domestic T20 championship for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, said he had learned a lot about batting from the retired Rahul Dravid, with whom he had shared the dressing room a lot when playing Ranji Trophy.
"It's a void not many people can fill. Rahul was an institution ... his dedication, hard work, the way he played, the way he handled himself, the kind of cricketer he was. As a person who has watched him from close quarters ... I played with him from a very young age, 17 or 18, and played more with him in the last 8-9 years ... watching him in itself is a learning.
"We have played lot of Ranji Trophy cricket together over the last 4-5 years. I had so much to learn from him during that time and having his inputs, and having him around with us was a big plus. We certainly are going to miss him a lot. I learned more about batting from him."
Effusive in praise of another senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar, Uthappa said no one barring the maestro could have achieved the landmark of 100 international centuries.
"If one man could do it, it could be only him. I don't think there will be another person who will achieve that milestone. Paaji obviously has etched himself in the history books in many ways. This is another record he has created. To me, he does not break records, just creates them nowadays."
He also wished Yuvraj Singh, his Pune Warriors team-mate and captain, a speedy recovery from his illness.
"I would like Yuvi to come back in the best of health. Besides playing cricket, there are other things that are more important in life. At the end of the day this is just a game, but his health is more important. I wish him a speedy recovery. Just to be back in top health would be priority.
"To me as a friend, as a colleague and as someone who has played with him ... to see him come out of that ailment hale and hearty, to have him alive and kicking ... would be more than anything else."