VVS Laxman, Noel David play a part in Ambati Rayudu’s U-turn
Rayudu, in his letter to the HCA, thanked David, Laxman and his Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super League for their role in bringing him back to cricket.Updated: Aug 31, 2019 06:51 IST
Ambati Rayudu, who had announced his retirement in a knee-jerk reaction to a World Cup selection snub, has decided to overturn the decision and play for his state team Hyderabad. The middle-order batsman was in the standby list for India’s World Cup squad after the selectors chose to go with all-rounder Vijay Shankar. But even when Shikhar Dhawan and Shankar had to return home following injuries in England, Rayudu was not picked. Rishabh Pant and Mayank Agarwal got the nod ahead of him.
The move did not go down well with Rayudu as he announced his retirement ‘from all forms and levels of the game’ in early July. Convinced though that Rayudu still had a lot of cricket left in him, Noel David, chief selector at the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), and VVS Laxman played a big role in persuading Rayudu to change his decision.
“This guy (Rayudu) has five years of cricket left in him. He is just 33. Yes, he went through the period where he could have been in the World Cup side but unfortunately he was not there. He felt very bad and was dejected,” David said over phone. “Me and Laxman, we just consoled him and told him ‘You have so much cricket left. So make a comeback, play for your state and then think about the making a comeback to the national team. Your experience will help youngsters, benefit Hyderabad team.’ The convincing part is now done.”
Rayudu, in his letter to the HCA, thanked David, Laxman and his Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super League for their role in bringing him back to cricket. “Yesterday he called me and said he is willing to return. He will have to go through some paperwork and join practice. The Hyderabad players have welcomed the decision. In his letter he has said that he will be joining us on the 10th. At present nothing is happening here only League, so he has enough time to gel with the team,” David, a former India player himself, said.
Interestingly, Rayudu will be available for selection in all formats though he had quit first-class cricket in 2018 to concentrate on his limited overs career. The decision turned out to be a fruitful one for Rayudu as he scored 602 runs in the 2018 IPL for CSK and returned to the ODI team after a gap of two years at the Asia Cup. He was given the No. 4 slot and against West Indies, at home, Rayudu scored a century and a half-century.
After that performance, India captain Virat Kohli hinted that Rayudu might the man for the No. 4 slot, a position that had kept the team management in experimentation mode the most in the leadup to the World Cup. But Rayudu could not replicate the same form in Australia and New Zealand. His performance against Australia at home too was not inspiring and he fell out of favour.