INDIA: In a recent interview, Ambati Rayudu, the former Indian cricketer who recently retired after helping Chennai Super Kings clinch their fifth Indian Premier League title, candidly shared his career struggles and the challenges he faced with certain individuals in the Indian team management and Hyderabad cricket.
Rayudu, without mentioning names directly, shed light on his grievances with the Indian team management during the 2019 ODI World Cup. He recalled his disappointment at not being selected for the tournament in favour of Vijay Shankar and expressed his frustration through a now-famous tweet.
His post read, “I just ordered a new set of 3D glasses to watch the World Cup,” mocking the selectors’ rationale for choosing Shankar as a “three-dimensional” player.
Speaking to TV9 Telugu, Rayudu emphasised that team selection is a collective decision and not the sole responsibility of an individual.
He mentioned the presence of certain individuals in the team management, specifically referring to a “Hyderabadi person” with whom he had personal differences that had accumulated over time. These were the same people he had dealt with throughout his cricketing career.
Furthermore, Rayudu delved into his troubled relationship with the Hyderabad cricket association, particularly highlighting the 2004–05 season. At that time, Shivlal Yadav, a former Indian cricketer, served as the Hyderabad cricket secretary, while his brother Rajesh Yadav held the position of coach.
Rayudu’s performance during that season suffered greatly, and due to conflicts with the management, he made a move to Andhra Pradesh the following season, where MSK Prasad was the captain.
During his stint in Andhra Pradesh, Rayudu did not face any issues with Prasad’s captaincy. However, he did express disagreement with some of Prasad’s methods, prompting his return to Hyderabad.
Reflecting on the 2019 World Cup team selection, Rayudu revealed that he learned of his exclusion from the squad after disembarking from a flight with his IPL teammates. He expressed deep disappointment, as representing India in the World Cup had been a significant ambition.
Rayudu clarified that his frustration was not directed at Vijay Shankar, the player who replaced him in the squad. Instead, he questioned the logic behind selecting Shankar, primarily a lower-order batsman, to occupy the critical number 4 batting position.
Rayudu believed that if he were to be replaced, a similar player should have been chosen. He expressed his inability to comprehend the decision-making process, questioning whether the team management prioritised winning the World Cup or treated it as a regular league match.
As Rayudu bids farewell to his international career, he leaves behind a record that falls short of the lofty expectations placed upon him. In 55 ODIs, he amassed 1,694 runs at an impressive average of 47.05, including three centuries. Additionally, he had limited appearances in T20 internationals, scoring 42 runs in six matches.
In first-class cricket, Rayudu achieved remarkable success, accumulating 6,151 runs and notching 16 centuries while representing Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, Baroda, and Vidarbha.
Rayudu’s candid revelations have shed light on the complexities and challenges faced by players within the cricket ecosystem.
As his retirement marks the end of an era, his words serve as a reminder of the importance of transparency, fairness, and effective communication in the selection processes, ensuring the best possible representation for the Indian cricket team in future endeavours.