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Ambati Rayudu – The Boy Who Couldn’t Be King

There had hardly been such excitement over a teenage talent since the rise of Sachin Tendulkar through the Mumbai cricket escalator. Those who watched the 17-year-old Ambati Rayudu train at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore in the second half of 2002 were certain of where he was headed. Even Sunil Gavaskar reckoned that he could be Indian cricket’s next big thing. If you had told those watching that Rayudu would have to wait until he was nearly 28 for his first India cap or that he would never play a World Cup game, they might have looked at you like you were crazy.

Earlier that summer, Rayudu had made an unbeaten 114-ball 177 to almost single-handedly lead the India Under-19s to victory against England. The opposition included the likes of Tim Bresnan and Liam Plunkett, both of whom would go on to enjoy significant international careers. Rayudu may have been short, but he had the temperament, skills and the fighting spirit to take on the best in those age-group contests.

The fighting spirit would be his undoing, though. Hyderabad cricket at the time was hopelessly corrupt and intent on promoting a mediocre talent who happened to be the son of a former India player. Rayudu, who had no such backing, was constantly bullied. After a brilliant first Ranji Trophy season, his performances tailed off. A move to Andhra followed, but the explosions of temper saw him marked as a risky selection.

With his hopes of making it to the national team dwindling, he joined the rebel Indian Cricket League, returning to the fold only in 2010. The Mumbai team took a chance on his talent in the Indian T20 League, and he would go on to be a part of 3 title-winning squads. But the flashes of anger continued to affect his game and reputation, and it was only in 2013 that he first got a chance to play for India. A dip in form just before the 2015 World Cup cost him a place in the XI, and though there were some sparks afterward, he couldn’t get his international dreams back on track. Left out of the 2019 World Cup squad, he responded with a sarcastic tweet, which more or less sealed his fate.

In the Indian T20 League, a move to the Chennai team in 2018 resulted in him becoming part of a title winning team for the fourth time in his career. Since then, though, it’s been back to the main theme of his career – so much promise and so little to show for it. He couldn’t make it to India’s squad for the 2021 T20 World Cup. The Chennai team kept their faith in the 36-year-old batter yet again this year, buying him for a fee of ₹6.75 crores at the mega auction held in February 2022.

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Ambati Rayudu’s Personal Details

    • Name
    • :
    • Ambati Thirupathi Rayudu
    • Date of Birth
    • :
    • 23rd September 1985
    • Birthplace
    • :
    • Guntur, India
    • Height
    • :
    • 5′7″
    • Batting Style
    • :
    • Right-handed batter
    • Playing Role
    • :
    • Middle-order batter
    • Major Teams Played For
    • :
    • India, Mumbai team, Chennai team

Ambati Rayudu Current Rankings

Ambati Rayudu Career Summary

    • Format
    • M
    • Inn
    • Runs
    • HS
    • Avg
    • SR
    • 100
    • 200
    • 50
    • 4s
    • 6s
    • CT
    • ODI
    • 55
    • 50
    • 1694
    • 124* vs ZIM
    • 47.05
    • 79.04
    • 3
    • 0
    • 10
    • 145
    • 30
    • 17
    • T20I
    • 6
    • 5
    • 42
    • 20 vs ZIM
    • 10.50
    • 84.00
    • 0
    • 0
    • 0
    • 5
    • 0
    • 4

Ambati Rayudu - Key Skills and Strengths

As a junior cricketer, he appeared to have all the shots and would play them fearlessly too. But as soon as he was thrown into senior cricket in the Challenger Trophy, which used to be played before the start of every Indian season, bowlers started to target him with short balls. His small stature and the step-up in class challenged him, but Rayudu altered his game sufficiently to eventually play for India. Apart from the textbook strokes that he played with great fluency, he could also innovate, playing shots like the scoop regularly as he established himself with the Mumbai team in the Indian T20 League.

Ambati Rayudu Awards and Achievements

In a dream sequence, Rayudu might have played for India after his Under-19 exploits in England and a fantastic first Ranji Trophy season. But with India boasting a legendary middle order at the time, he had to bide his time. As both form and motivation slipped, he stopped being a contender, and it was only in 2013 as India looked to build toward the 2015 World Cup that he got a chance to play for the Indian cricket team. He certainly had his moments in the blue shirt, but the failure to play a single World Cup game will surely hurt him.

Here are some of Raydu’s biggest achievements:

  • With scores of 210 and 159* against Andhra, Raydu was the youngest to score a double hundred and a century in a Ranji Trophy match.

  • He was the captain of the Under-19 side at the 2004 World Cup. Those he led included Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik.

Ambati Rayudu’s Indian T20 League Journey

After the Indian Cricket League misadventure, Rayudu and others were given amnesty by the Indian cricket board. Before the 2010 season, he joined a Mumbai team that hadn’t managed to reach the play-offs in the first two years of the Indian T20 League. He never had a settled role in the Mumbai team, often used as a floater and finisher, but he did enough in the first three seasons to ensure the franchise continued to invest in him. Sadly for Rayudu, his contributions in the three championship seasons (2013, 2015 and 2017) were minimal, and it was no real surprise when he sought a new challenge with Chennai in 2018. There he had by far his best season, as a team that had been banned for the previous two years stormed to the title. Then came World Cup dejection and another loss of form, though there are no signs that Rayudu wants to leave the game on a stroke-filled high.

Here are some of Raydu’s achievements in the Indian T20 League:

  • Raydu was Chennai’s top scorer with 602 runs when they won the title in 2018.

  • Only 12 men have scored more Indian T20 League runs than Rayudu, who is within touching distance of 4,000 runs.

  • His tally of 149 sixes puts him level with Yuvraj Singh. Only 11 men have hit more in the league.

    • Format
    • M
    • Runs
    • HS
    • Avg
    • SR
    • 100
    • 50
    • 4s
    • 6s
    • CT
    • ST
    • Indian T20 League
    • 175
    • 3916
    • 100* vs Hyderabad
    • 29.44
    • 127.47
    • 1
    • 21
    • 324
    • 149
    • 58
    • 2

Ambati Rayudu: FAQs

What was the sarcastic tweet that effectively ended Raydu’s international career?

After a selector had referred to Vijay Shankar as a “three-dimensional cricketer” to justify his selection in the 2019 World Cup squad, Rayudu tweeted, “Just ordered a new set of 3D glasses to watch the world cup.”

Which cricketer nearly attacked Rayudu with a stump following an on-field spat?

Arjun Yadav, son of Shivlal Yadav, former India off-spinner. Rayudu tried to hit him with his bat.

Which ICL team did Rayudu sign for, saying he wanted to face international-quality bowlers?

He played for Hyderabad Heroes before the league was wound up after a couple of seasons.

What is Raydu’s family background?

His father, Sambasiva Rao, worked in the Andhra Pradesh’s government’s archives department. He took several loans to ensure that his son’s cricketing ambitions were fulfilled.

Who is Rayudu’s favorite overseas cricketer?

Steve Waugh, who had the nickname Iceman.

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