India batter Ambati Rayudu says he wants to continue playing at least for the next three years.
The 36-year-old right-handed batter had retired from all forms of cricket in July, 2019, after being ignored for the World Cup but made himself available for selection after two months.
“I would love to keep playing till I am in good form and fit. I will be ready for the next cycle, which is three years and I am working hard on my fitness,” Rayudu, who played for Andhra in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy, told PTI.
“I recently played the Vijay Hazare Trophy which is five one-day games in six days which I got through well. I am in good shape and I hope to continue to play at least for the next three years.”
Rayudu was one of the five standbys for the World Cup but he missed out a place in the 15-member squad to Vijay Shankar, who was considered to have “three-dimensional” game.
“[The] 2019 World Cup definitely was disappointing for me, for not making the squad. My comeback was dedicated to CSK and how they helped me get through that phase and time and I am thankful to them.”
‘Special’ stint at CSK
Rayudu feels his stint with four-time IPL champion Chennai Super Kings was a special one and skipper M. S. Dhoni brought the best out of him.
“My stint with CSK has been a very special one. We have won two IPLs till now and played one final. 2018 was a very special season, a comeback season for CSK and us winning the IPL that year made it very special. Dhoni bhai has had the impact of getting the best out of me, not only me but he has an impact on everyone and brings the best performance out of everyone in the team. That is why he is the best captain India has ever had,” he said in an interaction on e-mail.
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Rayudu, who has been part of CSK for four seasons now, said he would love to play for the team again and hoped to get picked by the franchise in the forthcoming auction. “…I would definitely love to play for CSK. Formally, there has not been any communication with me so far, But I am hoping to get picked by them and have a successful league again,” he said.
The Super Kings have retained Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Moeen Ali apart from skipper Dhoni ahead of the auction for the next IPL season. The side won a fourth title earlier this year after failing to qualify for the playoffs in 2020.
“After the 2020 season, this win was very special for us in CSK. I have had my contribution, too. I have had a great opportunity and showed my potential…I enjoyed the role I played this year with CSK. Being in the lower middle order, it is difficult to get such an opportunity, and I cherished every moment.”
Asked if CSK’s template was one for the others to follow, Rayudu said: “I wouldn’t say template but every team looks for a mix of young and experienced players while picking. Especially when there is high pressure, experience really counts. We are seeing a lot of teams being very mature about the selection of their teams and I think this year will be a very interesting auction,” the batter, who made 257 runs during CSK’s winning 2021 IPL campaign, said.
Asked if he regretted not getting a chance to play Tests, Rayudu said he was happy to represent the country in the white-ball format.
“It is a great honour to represent India and I am happy that I represented India in the white-ball format – ODIs and T20s,” he said.
“I feel unfortunate about missing out on the Test cap. But I don’t regret it as I have given my best. I am happy for the opportunities I got to represent the team and that in itself is a great honour.”