Ambati Rayudu’s exclusion from India’s ODI World Cup squad created quite a stir on social media back in 2019.
Rayudu did exceptionally well while batting in the middle-order for India leading up to the showpiece tournament. However, he was not included in the 15-man World Cup squad for not having a "three-dimensional" game and Vijay Shankar was preferred over him.
In an interview with TV9 Telugu, Rayudu opened up about his snub, hinting that the axe was not performance related.
Without taking names, Rayudu stated that he had certain issues with a ‘Hyderabadi person’ in the Indian ‘team management’ (MSK Prasad) during the 2019 World Cup and earlier with Shivlal Yadav in Hyderabad cricket.
“A team selection is not done by an individual. Even if he deliberately wanted to or not, there are many other factors. There were certain people in team management. There was one Hyderabadi person. There were some instances when I was young when we did not get along. Small things which I did not like about them and some they did not like about me. And they have been built over a period of time," Rayudu said.
“These were the same people I have dealt with for my entire career in a cycle,” he added.
Before his India debut, Rayudu faced problems in domestic cricket as well. During the 2004-05 season, former India cricketer Shivlal Yadav was the Hyderabad secretary and his brother Rajesh Yadav was the state team’s coach.
Rayudu was in excellent form at that time but suddenly lost his mojo. There was a period of 13 innings where he batted with an awful average of 11.92. Because of his differences with the Hyderabad management, Rayudu moved to Andhra for the next season, where MSK Prasad was the captain.
Recalling that phase, Rayudu said: “In 2005, I went to play for Andhra. There were many problems with the Hyderabad secretary at the time. His brother was the coach and his son was the captain of the Hyderabad team. Things were not going well at the time here.”
“I went to Andhra and MSK Prasad was the captain of that side. Because of him, I did not face any issues there. But I did not like some of his methods so I returned to Hyderabad. The way he saw the game and the things he did at that age I did not like,” he remarked.
After his 2019 World Cup omission, Ambati Rayudu had tweeted sarcastically "Just ordered a new set of 3D glasses to watch the World Cup," aimed at then chief selector MSK Prasad.
Talking about the 3D glass tweet, Rayudu said: “Everyone went after Vijay Shankar. I did not have that intention. I could not understand their thinking and logic. If you have decided to replace me, you could have picked a similar player. How can you pick a player who plays numbers 6 and 7 and put him at 4? I don’t have anything personal against Vijay Shankar and MSK Prasad. I have played in New Zealand before the World Cup in similar conditions. I have been preparing well. Only those people can answer what went on.”
Ambati Rayudu represented India in 55 ODIs, scoring 1694 runs at an average of 47.06 with three centuries and 10 fifties. He recently announced his IPL retirement after helping Chennai Super Kings clinch their fifth title.