Ambati Rayudu the right man to bat at No 4, says Virat Kohli

Ambati Rayudu the right man to bat at No 4, says Virat Kohli
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When you are still a teen and people gasp at your talent and you are from a city that has a rich cricketing legacy, you cannot be faulted for dreaming about playing for your country on the biggest possible stage. But life surprises you, especially if you are Ambati Rayudu. Looks like he has had his fair share of surprises and will perhaps walk out to bat for India in the World Cup, a decade later than he would have expected. He did get a berth in the last World Cup squad only to warm the benches.
That is what Indian captain Virat Kohli indicated on Saturday when he said the team management has more or less sorted out the No. 4 slot. “Perhaps you’ll agree that the only spot that was not certain in our One-day team was the No. 4 batsman’s spot. That is the only position where we were trying out a few players,” he remarked. “Having seen him in the Asia Cup, we feel Rayudu is the right man for the job. So our team is almost sorted.” Underlining the confidence he has in the Hyderabad batsman, Kohli said, “We’ll be playing 18 ODIs before the World Cup and we’ll give him those matches to be comfortable in his position.” He added: “We wanted Rayudu to play at No. 4 in England as well but there were some technical issues that stopped it from happening.”
Kohli also made it clear that the matches leading to the World Cup will be about trying different combinations. Barring injuries, there will not be too many changes.
“In this series two of our guys are resting (Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah), Hardik (Pandya) and Kedar (Jadhav) are injured. So some new guys had to come in. Apart from rotating our bowlers, we wouldn’t be experimenting too much with the playing eleven in the coming months.”
That would be music to Rayudu’s ears who lost his best years embroiled in controversies. After his early promise did not translate into potential, Indian cricket lost him to the Indian Cricket League, the rebel T20 tourney which ultimately forced the Board of Control for Cricket in India to come up with the Indian Premier League. It is the stint with Mumbai Indians that brought Rayudu back in the scheme of things. He finally made his international debut at the age of 28, in 2013, against Zimbabwe in Harare. Having scored 1230 runs at 49.20 in 40 ODIs since then, Rayudu has done enough to stake claim for the No. 4 slot in a star-studded batting line-up.