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Ambati Rayudu began his march to book a spot for the 2015 World Cup with a good knock against England in the third One-Day International (ODI) at Trent Bridge. Rayudu has to now make each and every opportunity count as the competition intensifies ahead of the big event. Nishad Pai Vaidya writes about Rayudu’s knock.
Ambati Rayudu exudes optimism in the middle. The right-hander is flexible on his feet, with the small shuffle to get into position followed by that urge to get to the pitch of the ball. He got off the mark off the first ball and was ready to go down the track off his second. For a man who is trying to establish his spot, Rayudu showed good temperament and was quite proactive at the crease. His unbeaten innings of 64 should do him a world of good as the competition to seal spots ahead of the World Cup would intensify in the months ahead.
It is quite fascinating that exactly 12 years ago to the day, Rayudu had smashed an unbeaten 177 for India under-19 against England under-19 at Taunton. Back then, Rayudu was one of the most promising youngsters in the country, and was picked for India A a few months after that knock. However, it took him over a decade to make it to the senior side after a few detours along the way. And breaking into the eleven too was no easy task given the many quality one-day players India have. Opportunities have been few!
Rayudu built his innings very skillfully and paced it to perfection. The target was no big challenge and it was more about getting that confidence by spending time in the middle. To the spinners, he used his feet well and rocked back when it was needed. Against the pacers, he waited for the ball to come to him and played it late. There were moments when he danced down the ground and tried to smash it. It was all about that very confidence and optimism. He backs himself to charge down and smash it over the bowlers.
The road ahead won’t be the easiest for Rayudu. This opportunity only came by with Rohit Sharma’s injury. Once Rohit gets back, Ajinkya Rahane may come back into the middle order. But, if Rayudu continues to perform well, he may further his chances of holding on to his spot. On the bench, there is someone like a Sanju Samson, and perhaps even a Yuvraj Singh could be in the race if he gets back to form in time. Rayudu has to make these chances count and do his job, which he did quite well today. The rest can be left to the selectors.
There are many permutations and computations that come into play. No one can take it easy with just a few months to go for cricket’s biggest event.
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