Having been given the vote of confidence by skipper Virat Kohli to shoulder the middle-order responsibility doesn't “pressurise” him at all, said the quite and unassuming Ambati Rayudu, as he looks to keep his focus on the present and is extremely determined to make the opportunity count.
Rayudu, 33, is on a comeback and finds himself under the big strive to try and excel this excellent chance, where he has five ODI games against West Indies preceding tours of Australia and New Zealand before the World Cup.
So he, quite expectedly, got asked ahead of the second ODI at Visakhapatnam on October 24, whether he is feeling any pressure just three days after Virat Kohli himself considered Rayudu to be the end of India's long painful search for an ideal no.4.
To which Rayudu, having made an unnoticed 22* in the first game at Guwahati, replied, “Not really,” before stressing, “To be very honest, I am just focused on this series at the moment and not really thinking too far ahead. I don’t think it is new for me as I have been batting in the middle order for long. There is nothing new that they have asked me to do.”
The right-hand batsman had an outstanding Indian Premier League season this year for Chennai Super Kings and was actually selected for the limited-overs leg on the tour of England, before he had to sit out and got dropped due to failure in attaining the passing yo-yo number.
“I have been working on my fitness right from my injury. I don’t think yo-yo test had any bearing on how I was preparing or how I was going about my fitness," he further said, "Even now I am going to the NCA, there is a small pocket of free time for a week and I am happy that I cleared the test."
“I think even before the IPL, it’s not that I was not in contention. It’s just that I had few injuries. IPL was good platform to come back strong, especially on my fitness,” and added.
On the most vital virtue - flexibility, that his role commands, Rayudu feels, “Obviously it’s great that top three are doing so well for India. It’s a challenge for the middle order to always be ready to get in and bat. I am sure everybody is up for it, everybody knows the situation.”
“It’s just one game (the first ODI in Guwahati), I think they bowled really well and it’s just that Virat and Rohit batted brilliantly. They will pose a good challenge in the coming games,” and signed off.
(Inputs from AP)