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India vs West Indies: Ambati Rayudu answers captain’s call at No. 4

As the Indian think-tank worked on finding a strong combination in preparation for the 2019 World Cup, they had been sweating over finding the right man for the crucial No 4 position.

cricket Updated: Oct 30, 2018 11:16 IST
India vs West Indies,Ambati rayudu,India cricket team
Mumbai: Indian batsman Ambati Rayudu plays a shot during the 4th ODI cricket match against West Indies at Brabourne Stadium.(PTI)

There have been some exhilarating performances by the Indian batsmen over the last couple of years with Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli forming the most formidable top-order. However, the one they were all waiting for came at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday afternoon, from the blade of Ambati Rayudu.

As the Indian think-tank worked on finding a strong combination in preparation for the 2019 World Cup, they had been sweating over finding the right man for the crucial No 4 position.

Rayudu’s hundred in the fourth One-dayer against West Indies, would have eased some nerves in the Indian dressing room. India have tried 11 batsmen at the spot since the last World Cup.

India skipper Virat Kohli had said before the ODI series how they are hoping Rayudu settles in the slot, and he hasn’t disappointed the India captain. “Hopefully he (Rayudu) has sorted out all the mysteries of No 4 position (and hopefully) till the World Cup there would not be any talk of No 4. He batted brilliantly. At that time a big partnership was needed. And it was a perfect platform to showcase what he has got. Building a partnership was important. He responded well to the situation. We have known Rayudu for a long time. He can produce innings like what he did today. That’s probably the reason we got him at No 4 and he has not disappointed so far,” said Rohit Sharma, who shared a 211-run partnership with Rayudu.

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It’s not easy being Rayudu, who would usually come in as an injury replacement for the established names. In the squad for the 2015 World Cup in Australia-New Zealand, he sat out the entire duration of the event. After picking up the player of the series award in Zimbabwe, in 2016, Rayudu was unfortunately sidelined due to an injury and had to wait for two years for his next opportunity. A failed fitness test cost him the England tour before he finally got a chance at last month’s Asia Cup.

The Hyderabad-based player has always proved his worth, and with Monday’s innings should seal his berth for the 2019 World Cup, as a frontrunner for the crucial middle-order spot.

With strong basics, Rayudu’s strength is his solid technique for all conditions and the India captain Virat Kohli badly missed his services in the last series in United Kingdom, this summer, where the team lost due to a faltering middle-order.

First Published: Oct 29, 2018 22:49 IST