ambati rayudu
Ambati Rayudu (IANS Photo)

After being praised by captain Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu has received another endorsement as the perfect candidate to fulfil the role of a dependable No. 4 batsman for India. This time, it has come from Kohli’s deputy Rohit Sharma.

India have tried multiple batsmen in the recent years in their search for someone who will add the necessary steel in the team’s middle-order. On Monday in the fourth ODI against West Indies, Rayudu became the third batsman since the ICC World Cup 2015, after Manish Pandey and Yuvraj Singh, to score a century from the No. 4 spot.

He has received vocal backing from his captain to be a regular feature in India’s ODI plans, particularly at the aforementioned batting spot. With his third ODI century, Rayudu has ‘hopefully’ ended the debate.

“Hopefully he has solved all the mysteries of No. 4,” Rohit replied to a query when asked of Rayudu’s innings. “Till the World Cup there won’t be any talk of No. 4 I guess. He batted brilliantly because at that point (after India lost two wickets) a big partnership was needed and (it was a) perfect platform for him also to showcase what he’s got.”

Rayudu, 33, has been unlucky as injuries and fitness issues have meant he has missed out on a lot of international cricket despite boasting of a stellar average. In 44 ODIs, he now averages 51.68 with 1447 runs and has struck three centuries and nine fifties.

Rohit praised Rayudu’s innings saying he came to bat in pressure situation and thrived.

“There was pressure. Of course, losing top-two batsmen and then building a partnership was important. It was a pressure innings. He responded really well to that situation. Batted freely. Once he got to his fifty started playing those shots. We have known Rayudu for a long time. He can produce innings like those like he did today. That’s probably the reason we got him at No. 4. He has not disappointed. Whatever opportunities he has got since Asia Cup, now in this series (also), he has grabbed it with both hand,” he said.