Ravi Shastri, Ambati Rayudu
Rayudu will be an x-factor for India in the World Cup. Image Courtesy: Getty

Last Update on: February 6th, 2019 at 11:14 am

Team India head coach, Ravi Shastri, in an exclusive interview to Cricbuzz, spoke on Ambati Rayudu. Shastri said the way India’s number four batsman is batting at the moment; he could be an x-factor for the team heading in the World Cup.

When asked about whether Rayudu has lowered the worries about that particular place in the side, Ravi said, to an extent. Not only this, but the ‘gaffer’ also pressed on the fact how Ambati went to the drawing board and made necessary changes after failing cheaply in the Hamilton ODI against New Zealand.

Ambati Rayudu, Ravi Shastri
Rayudu scored zero in the Hamilton ODI against New Zealand. Image Courtesy: Getty

“To a degree, yes. In the previous match (fourth ODI at Hamilton), he batted like a millionaire (throwing away his wicket as India were bowled out for 92). He went back to the drawing board after that and dug deep on Sunday in Wellington. He played the situation.

Being unorthodox is Rayudu’s plus point – Shastri

Ravi Shastri noted Rayudu is unusual in his playing style; which is perhaps a plus point for him. Further, he said some of his shots are not textbook shots, but they are effective. Meanwhile, in the fifth ODI in Wellington, the right-hander scored 90 off 113 balls, helping India revive from a peculiar situation. He hit eight fours and four sixes in his knock and more importantly looked dependable at the crease.

And the one quality Rayudu has, he can be very unorthodox. With the way he bats, he can be an x-factor for us. He will play shots that are unconventional at times, but they can be very effective. The more he plays like this (like at Wellington), the more he will realise he can do that to the opposition.”

Ravi speaks on India’s lower-middle order

During the New Zealand ODIs, India didn’t alter much with their middle-order. Though in the absence of Virat Kohli, the visitors did make some changes in the final two ODIs. Vijay Shankar, who slotted for a couple of games on tour displayed promise; playing a brave inning of 45 runs on a tough Wellington track against New Zealand.

Moreover, Shastri opined with MS, Kedar and Pandya at 5,6 and 7, India’s batting department has enough firepower to strike in any condition.

Ravi Shastri, Ambati Rayudu
The head coach talked about India’s middle order. Image Courtesy: Getty

“Absolutely, because they all bat with aggressive intent. And so does Vijay Shankar – don’t mistake him with the bat. You saw his defensive game on Sunday (in Wellington). If he had been there for the last 8-10 overs, he would have spanked the bowling.” Shastri added.

Ravi then gave an example of how the Indian team in 2011 World Cup found success despite top-order failures in a few games. He mentioned India had Suresh Raina in the middle overs in the matches against Australia, Pakistan; and with Yuvraj, Dhoni to follow, India could dominate the oppositions. However, he spoke on the importance of Hardik Pandya in the team as well.

“This aggressive intent adds flair to the Indian side. The best ODI sides in the world have proper batsmen at numbers 5, 6, 7, 8. Look at the Indian team in 1983, or even in 1985. Then, look at the 2011 Indian team. You had Suresh Raina coming in at number seven, and he won you games (against Australia in the quarter-final and Pakistan in the semi-final). With Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni and Raina at numbers 5, 6, 7, no side could relax. So when you have Hardik Pandya coming in at number 7 or even at 8, the opposition cannot relax.” he said.

Meanwhile, India will take on New Zealand in the first T20I on Wednesday (February 6th) in Wellington.

Gautam Sodhi

I am more than just a cricket lover. I have been breathing this game since I was three, and now I am making a living out of it. Also, FC Barcelona happens to be my second love, and evidently, I prefer...