Veteran Indian batsman Ambati Rayudu has decided to move on as he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. The middle-order batsman has represented India in 55 One Day Internationals and six T20Is. The 33-year-old was overlooked by the selectors when Team India's 15-member World Cup squad was announced earlier this year. He was once again overlooked when all-rounder Vijay Shankar was ruled out of the tournament due to a toe injury and Mayank Agarwal was named as a replacement. It seemed that the Andhra batsman was assured of a World Cup berth during his impressive run in 2018 and it appeared that India's middle-order woes have been addressed.
However, his 2019 began on a miserable note as he could manage only 24 runs in the two matches he played. Rayudu made up for it to some extent in the following series against New Zealand where he amassed 190 runs in five ODI's. He scored a match-winning 90 in the final ODI after India were reduced to 18/4 as they ended up getting to 252. However, a forgettable home series against Australia meant that the veteran batsman was overlooked for the quadrennial event.
On his retirement here are some of Rayudu's top career highlights:
Rayudu’s evident talent was on display very early in his cricketing career. He was opening the batting for India Colts against England under-19 in 2002, the then 16-year-old Rayudu in an explosive inning scored an unbeaten 177 out of India’s total of 262 as India won by one wicket
India’s under-19 World Cup squad of 2004 had quite a few future international cricketers such as Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, Dinesh Karthik, RP Singh, and Shikhar Dhawan. Rayudu who was named the captain of the star-studded team. Ironically, he was the last of that batch to make his international debut for India.
Rayudu was one of the biggest players in the Indian Cricket League (ICL), where he played for Hyderabad Heroes and ICL India XI. When ICL was dissolved, Rayudu availed an amnesty offered by the BCCI in 2009, following which he was picked up by MI.
Playing for Mumbai Indians in IPL helped Rayudu pave a path to build his international career. He played various important innings and became the team’s prime choice. He would fit in and perform anywhere from one down to number eight. One crucial inning where he had to carry the team to victory was in the 70th match of IPL 2011. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) scored 175-7. Chasing a handsome total, MI slumped to 137-5 in the 18th over. With 38 runs needed to win from 15 balls, Rayudu along with James Franklin kept the thins chances alive and took the match to the final over. With 21 needed to win from the final over, Franklin hit four boundaries off the first four balls before taking a single. Rayudu had a mantle to score four off the final ball to win and responded by hammering a full toss over midwicket for six as MI won on the final ball of the match.
In addition to his batting, Rayudu is also a part-time off-spinner though his action is not all that legal and he was suspended from bowling in International Cricket earlier this year by ICC. He is also a part-time wicketkeeper, in fact, his keeping made him a first choice for the role of a frontline wicketkeeper for MI.
Rayadu is infamous for his temper pangs. He was involved in an ugly spat with Harbhajan Singh in IPL 9. Singh’s maturity helped him stay calm and laugh it off. However, Rayudu lost his cool. In a match against Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), Rayadu misfielded a shot from Saurabh Tiwary at the boundary off Harbhajan’s bowling. The off-spinner was livid and an exchange of words took place that made Rayudu evidently furious.
Rayudu had to wait for a decade where he delivered consistent performances in First-Class cricket’ Before he got the blue kit and was capped to make his debut for India in the ODIs against Zimbabwe. Playing for an exhausted side under Virat Kohli, Rayudu proved his mettle by scoring an unbeaten 63 which helped India chase down Zimbabwe’s 228-7. Rayudu’s became only the twelfth batsman in Indian Cricket to score a fifty in his debut innings.
After playing in the Mumbai Indian blue for 10 years, Rayudu was bought by CSK in their come back year for the 2018-20 season.
Rayudu initiated his first-class career playing for Hyderabad before switching to Andhra. He also played for Baroda after a return from ICL he started playing for Baroda. In 2017, Rayudu returned to Hyderabad as the Ranji captain.
Rayudu's retirement decision has received a mix reaction by people. In his short career, he definitely has left a mark with his quality cricket.