The absence of Virat Kohli in the Asia Cup has given an opportunity to few non-regulars to cement a place in the XI and a ticket to the 2019 World Cup. There is at least one spot vacant in the middle-order, if not two. And India have tried and tested few players such as KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik for the No 4 spot without much consistent results. But the comeback of Ambati Rayudu in the Asia Cup has given India and the team management the opportunity to explore the Hyderabad batsman in the middle-order.
Rayudu could have been in the plane to England for the limited-overs series, but his failure to pass the Yo-Yo Test (now mandatory for team’s selection) delayed his comeback into the Indian national team after his super-success in IPL 2018.
Rayudu, however, wasted no time and got into the business of accumulating runs in the Asia Cup. He scored 60, 31* in the two matches in Asia Cup so far, but at No 3, the usual spot for Virat Kohli in limited-overs cricket.
Flexible Ambati Rayudu
Nevertheless, Rayudu has the flexibility to bat at any position and do the job for his team, as evident from the CSK’s successful campaign in IPL 2018. CSK skipper MS Dhoni experimented with Rayudu and made him bat at different spots and the former Mumbai Indians player scored runs wherever he was sent to bat.
He scored a ton as an opener for the first time in T20s in IPL 2018. He was even more murderous in the middle-order as he hardly took time to settle down and go after the bowling. CSK skipper Dhoni was all praise for Rayudu in IPL 2018, stating the IPL veteran gives him many options with his flexibility.
Ambati Rayudu ideal at No 4
And now, it’s Rayudu’s turn to deliver the goods in the national colours and get his right share of credit for his talent, skills and temperament. Rayudu can be a strong anchor at No 4 to help India finish off games or anchor the innings in case the top-order fails.
With MS Dhoni at No 5, looking vulnerable with the bat, it’s Rayudu’s job at No 4 to bat with the middle-lower order to see the team through. Kedar Jadhav at No 6 adds flexibility to the batting order and an extra spin option.
Rayudu crucial to World Cup campaign
Hence, Rayudu’s success in the middle-order is detrimental to India’s campaign in 2019 World Cup, especially when the likes of Rahul, Pandey, Iyer, Karthik failing to grab the chance and sealing the spot.
The additional benefit of Rayudu in the squad is that he can promoted as an opener or sent lower down the order in tune with the situation of the game and turn the match in India’s favour with his flexibility and ability to score runs anywhere and everywhere.