Ambati Rayudu eager to make a comeback to white-ball cricket

The middle-order batsman says he is “definitely” open to playing for India and the Indian Premier League.

Ambati Rayudu announced his retirement from all formats of the game after failing to find his place as an injury replacement twice during the World Cup.   -  R. Senthil Kumar

Former India middle-order batsman Ambati Rayudu, on Friday, expressed his eagerness to make a comeback to white-ball cricket “as soon as possible,” saying he is “definitely” open to playing for India and the Indian Premier League.

Speaking to Sportstar on the sidelines of a Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) one-day league match between Grand Slam CC and Jolly Rovers for the V. A. Parthasarathy Trophy in Chennai, the right-hand batsman said the decision to retire wasn’t an emotional one, but accepted the World Cup snub was a bit disappointing after having worked so hard for the spot.

“Not really an emotional decision. No. I mean I had worked a lot for the World Cup for four to five years. Obviously, you will be a bit disappointed. But I had thought maybe it was time, not because it was rejection or emotion, but you work towards something and maybe then you want something else.

“I had some time to think about this, so thought might as well come and play some cricket,” said Rayudu, who played 55 ODIs for India, scoring 1,694 runs with three centuries and 10 fifties at 47.05. He has also played six T20Is, scoring 42 runs.

Rayudu also accepted that Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the IPL franchise he plays for, has been very supportive throughout. He said, “I am very happy that CSK has always been very supportive. I would be really happy to prepare well for the IPL and represent CSK. Definitely, I would be playing the IPL.”

‘First priority to get fully fit’

Rayudu says he is eager to come back to cricket.

“I haven’t thought much but I would prepare well to come back to white-ball cricket as soon as possible. I love the game, obviously. See ambition and targets are one thing but it still is the game I love. It is about playing cricket. So, I thought why not take it forward? Nothing like a target or anything. But my first priority would be to get fully fit. I have not played cricket for a while now and it would take me maybe a month and a half to get fully fit.”

The Vijay Hazare Trophy is scheduled to begin on September 24 this year, and with Rayudu eyeing a return, he might be available for selection as well. “I haven’t arrived at a decision yet. I am yet to file formal letters. All I am looking forward to now is my fitness,” said Rayudu, who made his Ranji Trophy debut in 2002.

The Andhra cricketer seemed to be in fine touch in Friday’s league match at the IIT-Chemplast Ground, slamming a quality stroke of 47 off 56 deliveries. But will he be open to selection for the national side?

“Of course, who will say no to India?” is the reply.