Rayudu reveals on the big stage

Talent alone can’t guarantee success as one needs to put in hard work to justify his potential at any stage of life. Ambati Rayudu has always received admiration for his skills and technique but has finally achieved something big in his brief international career. He recently scored his first ODI hundred for the Men in Blue, a feat which at one point looked impossible owing to reasons that deviate from cricket. The 29-year-old Rayudu justified his skipper’s faith by scoring an unbeaten 121 off 118 balls with the help of 10 fours and four sixes in an innings that was paced perfectly. He was one of the reasons behind Team India’s win by 6 wickets in the second game of the five match ODI series against Sri Lanka played recently. Chasing 275 to win, the fifty over world champion side was helped by Rayudu’s brilliant knock. “I am definitely happy that I got a hundred, but for me personally this figure does not matter as much as the team winning and I am happy to see it through,” said Rayudu whose previous highest score was 64 not out scored in Nottingham against England in August this year.“When we play for India, whatever role the team gives us, I am happy to fulfill them. I am happy to fulfill the role given to me. It’s all about roles of each individual, more than landmarks like 50s and 100s,” said Rayudu. Captain Virat Kohli was happy with Rayudu’s performance. “Rayudu is a great player, he’s been around for a while. It’s all about giving him that opportunity to bat at No. 3. I just told him that whatever you are doing now is what you deserved 12 years back,” he said.

The people in Hyderabad’s cricket circles never doubted this moment of brilliance from the right hand batsman. I know there was a long delay but Rayudu has finally got what his fans and close ones wanted from him. He also scored 59 in the fifth and final match of the series against Lanka. Rayudu was classy from the early stage of his career. He was appointed as the skipper of the Under 19 Indian side which went to participate in the four-nation Videocon Asia tournament in Pakistan in 2003. Suresh Raina, Piyush Chawla, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan and Robin Uthappa were part of that squad and went on to represent India much earlier than their captain Rayudu. He was so instrumental with the bat that his coaches labeled him as the next Sachin Tendulkar in making. It was at this stage of his career, a fallout with Hyderabad Cricket Association destroyed everything for him. Clearly unhappy with his cricket association, he went on to join rebel Indian Cricket League with six other players from Hyderabad on 16 August 2007. BCCI was shocked over this surprising event. After his association with the ICL, he was dropped from the state team, but he continued to play in the ICL for Hyderabad Heroes. That move almost quashed his dream of playing for the country. Nonetheless, circumstances changed and he decided to join Baroda in the Ranji Trophy and the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians (MI). These were the two teams which spotted his potential after he accepted amnesty from the BCCI in 2009. He scored heavily for both of them but what got him through tough time can’t be attributed to runs and talent alone. His work ethics and the will to win over his demons has worked for him. This lad is one of the cricketers, who take even the smallest of training camps seriously. He has made a point of performing well in the practice matches which players generally play among each other. Rayudu has learned the importance of keeping his wicket intact while playing any sort of match. These are the attributes which helped him in making his international debut against Zimbabwe in 2013. Many thought it was too late to carve a niche for himself but Rayudu scored a magnificent 63 alongside Virat Kohli in his first outing. He played some more valuable knocks but an unbeaten 121 against Sri Lanka recently stands above all. He has praised his coaches and Sachin Tendulkar for making an eventful impact in his career. “Sachin (Tendulkar) and Robin Singh especially. They’ve helped me a lot, and I’d definitely like to thank them for that,” said Rayudu.

Rayudu has got clever and thinking cricketing brain and bats according to the situation of a particular match. He builds his inning around singles and doubles and then goes for big shots in the fifty over format of the game while the strategy is completely different in T20 matches. The Baroda maestro has played only one game for Team India in T20s but this won’t diminish his exploits for Mumbai Indians in the cash rich league. He is now on a track to earn a berth for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. It won’t be easy for him to be part of the playing XI as there is every chance of him missing out to Rohit Sharma. However, the tri-series prior to World Cup in Australia could prove blessing in disguise for him if Rohit misses out to land himself on the scoring charts.


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