'No doubt it was a huge blunder': Anil Kumble's severe dig at Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri over Ambati Rayudu treatment
Anil Kumble called Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli's 2019 move involving Ambati Rayudu a 'huge blunder'.
It was the perfect fairytale for Ambati Rayudu, who ended his IPL career by lifting a sixth title – third for Chennai Super Kings. Rayudu, one of the true workhorses in Indian cricket, is believed to have underachieved as far as his India career is concerned. Despite playing 55 ODIs and six T20Is for India, Rayudu couldn't cement a permanent place in the Playing XI. His most famous and talked about run with Team India was during the build-up of the 2019 World Cup, where searching desperately for a No. 4 batter, Rayudu stepped up to the occasion.
Between September 2018 and March 2019, Rayudu became the answer to India's No. 4 woes. After playing the IPL 2018, where he reached T20 batting peak slamming 602 runs, Rayudu played 21 ODIs in that six-month period faring rather decently – scoring 639 runs including one century and four fifties. And while these weren't poor numbers by any stretch of the imagination, when the squad for the World Cup in England was announced, Rayudu's name went surprisingly missing. They instead went ahead with KL Rahul as their No. 4 and called in all-rounder Vijay Shankar after a based on his performances in the IPL that year – and experiment whose layers unraveled further as the tournament went along.
Kumble calls Rayudu's 2019 World Cup drop a blunder
Four years removed from that debatable call, as Rayudu called time on a glorious career, India bowling legend Anil Kumble feels it was a 'blunder' to not have Rayudu take the flight to England. The former India coach reckons it was a huge miss on the then-captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri's part to omit Rayudu at the last minute after preparing him for that particular role for six months.
"Rayudu should have played the 2019 World Cup. Oh yes, there's no doubt about it. It was a huge blunder. You prepared him for that role for so long and his name just disappears from the squad. It was surprising nonetheless," Kumble said on Jio Cinema when the IPL 2023 final was stalled due to rain after the Gujarat Titans innings.
What happened to Rayudu after 2019 World Cup omission?
The decision to leave Rayudu out left behind a lot of repercussion. Clearly miffed with the selection, Rayudu put out a controversial tweet "Just ordered a new set of 3D glasses to watch the World Cup", based on ex chief selector MSK Prasad's comment that 'Vijay Shankar is a 3D (3 dimensional) player. Rayudu even briefly announced his retirement in the middle of India's World Cup campaign before taking it back. Unfortunately, Rayudu never played for India again in what will go down as one of the most mysterious endings of an international career.