Sunday 31 August 2014 

Comment - Cool, Calm Ambati Rayudu Steps Up

Ambati Rayudu plays a shot against England
Ambati Rayudu may only have played handful of ODIs but he played like a veteran to see off England - using all of his domestic cricket experience
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Ambati Rayudu was a model of calm, coolness and calculating during his match-winning innings against England at Trent Bridge.

Cricket is a team game and yesterday’s match was a fine example of how every player in the XI can contribute as India looked good in all departments and their ground fielding, especially, was outstanding.

Before this ODI started there was a slight worry in the Indian camp as Rohit Sharma was ruled out of this series due to a fractured middle finger. MS Dhoni had to make a call on who will open with Shikhar Dhawan. He decided to open with Ajinkya Rahane and picked Rayudu in place of Sharma.

Rayudu made his debut last year when India toured Zimbabwe for an ODI series. He did well in his debut match by scoring a half-century but after that didn’t get many chances because the regular players were back for the next series.

In the Asia Cup 2014 he played a determined knock of 58 against Pakistan when India were in trouble which showed that he can play according to situation.

Rayudu is not a newcomer to the cricketing world. He is now almost 29 years of age and has been playing domestic cricket for 13 years. He has plenty of experience of playing in the Ranji Trophy and the Irani Trophy.

He is different from the current bunch of Indian players who directly come and start playing for the IPL franchise. Rayudu has toiled hard in the domestic arena for quite a long time - including the now-defunct Indian Cricket League - and is now using that experience well at the top most level.

We can see that his approach towards the game is relatively simple. He likes rotating the strike and tries to build up a partnership. He also has the knack of picking gaps in the field.

Ambati Rayudu's circuitous route to international cricket

2001 - makes first-class debut for Hyderabad

2002 - makes India Under-19s debut, playing alongside Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan

2003 - takes on captaincy of the U19s, leading Raina, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik and Piyush Chawla

2005 - moves to Andhra

2007 - joins the Indian Cricket League, meaning he is banned from Indian cricket until 2009

2010 - joins the Mumbai Indians Indian Premier League franchise

2010 - moves to Baroda

2012 - called up to India squads in England & West Indies but not selected to play

2012/13 - top scorer in the Deodhar Trophy

2013 - scores 51 & 156* for Rest of India against Mumbai in the Irani Cup

2013 - makes ODI debut in Zimbabwe

India right now require a batsman who can play a sheet anchor role. It might be too early to say whether Rayudu fits that role or not but he has shown glimpses of what he is capable of.

In the third ODI when he came in India needed to score at around four an over. He played some excellent late cuts, flicked the ball with accurate timing and respected the good deliveries. He concentrated on his own game and never looked under pressure.

The defensive technique of Rayudu is good. He quickly gets forward or back to a ball as required. He might get tested by short rising deliveries outside the off stump but that we can only know if he gets more opportunities to prove himself.

Rayudu can also change gears if the asking rate is high. He likes lofting the ball over the 30-yard circle and being a middle-order batsman his ability to play spin is exceptional. He confidently charges the spinners and never allows them to settle in.

Rayudu has matured as a cricketer and loves playing smart cricket and he is a good fielder. 

The World Cup is around the corner and there is no reason why Rayudu can't be a part of that 15-member squad. As he plays more his confidence will rise and he can surely be a player to watch out for.

India needs to make their bench strength stronger. So, it won’t be a bad idea for the team management to test a few more new players to see how good they are at the international level.

© Cricket World 2014

Fixtures & Results

9th-13th July: 1st Test, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
India 457 & 391-9 dec. (Binny 78) drew with
England 496 (Root 154no, Anderson 81)
17th-21st July: 2nd Test, Lord's, London
India 295 & 342 (Vijay 95, Jadeja 68) beat
England 319 & 223 (Sharma 7-74) by 95 runs
27th-31st July: 3rd Test, The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
England 569-7 dec. & 205-4 dec. beat
India 330 & 178 (Ali 6-67) by 266 runs
7th-11th August: 4th Test, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
England 367 (Root 77, Buttler 70) beat
India 152 & 166 by an innings & 54 runs
15th-19th August: 5th Test, The Kia Oval, London
England 486 (Root 149no, Cook 79) beat
India 148 & 94 by an innings & 244 runs
25th August: 1st ODI, Bristol
Match abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain
27th August: 2nd ODI, SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff
India 304-6 (Raina 100, Woakes 4-52) beat
England 161 (Jadeja 4-28) by 133 runs (D/L)
30th August: 3rd ODI, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
India 228-4 (Rayudu 64no) beat
England 227 (Cook 44) by six wickets
2nd September: 4th ODI, Edgbaston, Birmingham
India 212-1 (Rahane 106, Dhawan 97no) beat
England 206 (Moeen Ali 67) by nine wickets
5th September: 5th ODI, Headingley, Leeds
England 294-7 (Root 113, Buttler 49) beat
India 253 (Jadeja 87) by 41 runs
7th September: T20I, Edgbaston, Birmingham
England 180-7 (Morgan 71, Hales 40)
India 177-5 (Kohli 66) by three runs