Rohit Sharma praises Ambati Rayudu: The stand-in India captain was wax lyrical about the middle-order batsman.
India middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu might have missed a century during the fifth ODI against New Zealand at Wellington but didn’t fail to impress one and all with his 10th ODI half-century, a knock which powered India to 252 in 49.5 overs.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Rayudu’s match-winning innings might also earn him a trip to England as India No. 4 batsman during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Coming in to bat at No. 4 in the sixth over, Rayudu ended up scoring 90 (113) with the help of eight fours and four sixes.
Being asked about Rayudu’s adapting to both the conditions and the situation during the post-match press conference, stand-in India captain Rohit Sharma labelled the innings as a ‘massive boost’ for the 33-year old right-hand batsman.
Fantastic innings from Rayudu
First 52 runs took 86 balls
Nexf 38 runs too 17 balls
Unfortunately misses a Century!
— Broken Cricket (@BrokenCricket) February 3, 2019
Good that India experimented by batting first and are challenging themselves in difficult conditions. Shankar was really good to watch and Rayudu ‘s 90 is worth its weight in gold. #NZvIND
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) February 3, 2019
“Massive confidence for him to bat in a situation like that when the team is down [18-4]. You’ve got to bail the team out of that situation. He has played for many years and used his experienced.
“We’ve seen again that no matter how many wickets you lose, you stitch one good partnership and things start to look a lot better. Such an innings is a massive boost for him going forward,” Sharma was quoted as saying.
India have tried numerous batsmen at No. 4 in the last couple of years. While some of them looked suitable initially, inconsistency got the better of them eventually. On the other hand, a few of them never really looked like making the spot their own.
Rayudu, who has been the latest entrant in the same race has given a lot of surety than the others. Since his comeback into the team after two years in last year’s Asia Cup, he has played 12 matches at No. 4, scoring 431 runs at an average of 53.87 and a strike rate of 89.23. Overall (post comeback), Rayudu has scored 701 runs in 18 matches at an average of 50.50 and a strike rate of 86.44. The fact that he can bat in positions above No. 4 is an added advantage for the team.
Rayudu has done the best that he can today. If there is an issue with that, nothing that one can do. He has accelerated well, people need to stop thinking everyone has to bat at a SR above 100 all the time. Not all pitches are the same.
— Nikhil 🏏 (@CricCrazyNIKS) February 3, 2019
Good recovery from India to get to a respectable 252 after being 18/4. Loved the positivity of Vijay Shankar, Kedar and a very mature innings from Rayudu. Hardik once again showed what an asset he is, by some incredible hitting in the end. #NZvIND
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) February 3, 2019
While Sharma refused to comment on who is most likely to play at No. 4 during the world event, he hoped for Rayudu to continue in the same manner.
“I wouldn’t be able to comment about the World Cup 2019 regarding who will be batting at No. 4. It’s not my place to talk about it. But talking about the whole series, how he [Rayudu] batted, he can take a lot of confidence from this series.
“He finished off games in Tauranga, stitching good partnerships with MS [Dhoni] and Dinesh [Karthik]. He’s looking very good at the moment. I just want him to continue. We’ve got five more games against Australia back home. If he bats the way he has batted, it will be good for us,” Sharma added.