Making a comeback into domestic cricket, Ambati Rayudu has set a target for himself and sees himself as his competitor. Rayudu, who was ruled out of India’s tour of Zimbabwe citing a right quadriceps muscle pull, had to miss the entire Ranji Trophy season. Despite missing the season, he received a call for India’s warm-up match against England — MS Dhoni’s last as India’s limited-overs captain.
Asked to bat first, India lost Mandeep Sharma cheaply. Shikhar Dhawan (63), Rayudu (100 retired out), Yuvraj Singh (56) and Dhoni (68 not out from 40 balls) powered India to 304 in 50 overs. The visitors too had their share of runs with Jason Roy (62), Sam Billings (93) and Jos Buttler (46) doing enough to ensure Dhoni’s tenure ended on a losing note.
“It was Dhoni bhai’s last game as captain and also it was a big challenge for me to come back and play against an international side. I’m happy that I was able to bring my game to that standard and the way I was able to connect the ball that boosted my confidence. Also, I was delighted to be a part of his (Dhoni) last match, however the result was not what we had desired,” said Rayudu recalling the contest in Mumbai.
“It is always frustrating to be out of the game, but I personally don’t look at competition. I think the only competitor for me is myself. I really don’t care who is there in the team or whether I’m picked or not because it’s not in my hand. My job is to perform.”
“As long as I’m getting into the standards which I want to see myself, to score runs, to be consistent till then I really don’t mind if I’m not called to play for India. There is healthy competition to get into the Indian squad as everyone is performing tremendously well,” added the right-handed batsman.
After playing for Baroda, Hyderabad and Vidarbha (currently) in Ranji Trophy, Rayudu has scored 5873 runs with 15 centuries and 32 half-centuries. However, he’s yet to make a mark on the international scene despite playing 34 ODIs where he’s scored 1055 runs at an average of 76.28.
“Playing as a professional, it is important to play with a lot of players who you don’t know and suddenly you need to perform. And this will be a trend seen among a lot of young players in the upcoming years. As there is a lot of competition in many states, Karnataka, Mumbai, though it was not my case. I like it as it pushes me and at the end of the day you get to play Ranji,” said Rayudu.
The 31-year old said that it is completely wrong to compare the domestic cricket standards with international cricket. “They are a different ball game, domestic cricket is a good launching platform for India A while it is necessary to go on A tours and perform and that’s where you can find real good cricketers for Indian cricket. Unfortunately the wickets in domestic cricket are in sad state,” he stated.
While the popular opinion has been that BCCI’s move to play matches at neutral venues hasn’t been fruitful, the Mumbai Indians player thinks otherwise.
“BCCI’s concept of conducting matches at neutral venue is a good concept, as long as the pitches are prepared to be more bowler friendly. Pitches should assist bowlers to 40-60 per cent, if there is no challenge then you don’t get satisfaction. Sporting wicket doesn’t mean leaving grass on it. A well-prepared wicket is suppose to have good bounce and help both batsmen and the bowler,” concluded Rayudu.