ambati rayudu
Ambati Rayudu (AFP Photo)

Recently, captain Virat Kohli said India‘s search for their No. 4 batsman in ODI cricket has ended with Ambati Rayudu. Seven different batsmen were tried for the spot in the past one year or so and as the World Cup 2019 approaches, the team management has finally settled on Rayudu.

But for the Hyderabad batsman, batting in the middle-order isn’t a new challenge as he has been doing that all his career.

“To be very honest, I am just focused on this series at the moment and not really thinking too far ahead. I don’t think it is new for me as I have been batting in the middle order for long. There is nothing new that they have asked me to do,” Rayudu said on Tuesday.

Rayudu has had an eventful year so far. He was dropped from the India squad for their UK tour after failing the dreadful Yo-Yo test. He subsequently cleared it and made his way back into the national squad through Asia Cup in the UAE.

“I have been working on my fitness right from my injury. I don’t think yo-yo test had any bearing on how I was preparing or how I was going about my fitness. Even now I am going to the NCA, there is a small pocket of free time for a week and I am happy that I cleared the test,” the 33-year-old said.

“I think even before the IPL, it’s not that I was not in contention. It’s just that I had few injuries. IPL was good platform to come back strong, especially on my fitness,” he added.

With India’s top-three batsmen in excellent form, the middle-order has rarely been tested. Rayudu feels that despite the lack of opportunities, the batsmen know their roles and are up for the challenge. “Obviously it’s great that top three are doing so well for India. It’s a challenge for the middle order to always be ready to get in and bat. I am sure everybody is up for it, everybody knows the situation,” Rayudu said.

While India swept away Windies bowlers in the series opener in Guwahati on Sunday, Rayudu has backed the visitors to improve in the upcoming matches. “It’s just one game (the first ODI in Guwahati), I think they bowled really well and it’s just that Virat and Rohit batted brilliantly. They will pose a good challenge in the coming games,” he said.