Chennai Super Kings (CSK) won the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on their comeback and Ambati Rayudu was one of the reasons why the team dominated in league stages. Rayudu scored 602 runs from 16 matches, including a century and three half-centuries. The 11th season was the best for Rayudu as he opened the innings and played a few match-winning innings in high-scoring affairs. In a recent interview, CSK teammate Harbhajan Singh revealed a lot about his cricketing career and the recently concluded IPL season.
He revealed that he was not interested in cricket initially. It was his father who enrolled him in a camp. The 32-year-old idolised India’s batting legends Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman while growing up. During the interview, Harbhajan revealed that the Hyderabad batsman does not have a phone whereas other cricketers have 2-3 phones handy.
The 37-year-old lauded Rayudu for his talent. He feels that India has not utilised his talent to its full potential. There have been players who were nowhere close to Rayudu in terms of talent and skills.
Rayudu has never been a regular in the Indian side. He has been used for Zimbabwe tours and few other fixtures. He has scored 1,055 runs from 34 ODIs at an average of 50.23, including 2 centuries and 6 half-centuries. He has been picked in the squad against England in the upcoming ODI series but ignored in the T20Is — a format where he has hit a purple patch.
Harbhajan recalled the infamous moment where he and Rayudu engaged in a ‘war of words’ on the ground while playing for Mumbai Indians (MI). Rayudu apologised to Harbhajan on the show as the latter said that it was all done in the heat of the moment.
Rayudu’s career took a huge hit after joining Indian Cricket League (ICL). Harbhajan opined that during those 3-4 years, he could have made it into India squad. Rayudu explained why he went down that road. The politics in Hyderabad was a problem which led to his impulsive decision of joining ICL.
Rayudu shared a moment when Mohammed Siraj, who is also a Hyderabadi like him, had a weird reaction to his batting. After getting hit for sixes in a match between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and CSK, Siraj walked up to him after the match and said,
“Arey raham karo bhai, aisa maar rahe kya?”
Harbhajan also got Rayudu to reveal his lucky charm. To everyone’s surprise, Rayudu said,
“Har saal ek bat leta hu Virat (Kohli) se, usko bhi maloom ho gaya ki tashan hai. Is saal to gaali deke diya hai”
Rayudu showed a whole new side to his game in IPL 2018. He hit the third-most number of sixes in the tournament which is also his personal best with Kohli’s bat. Harbhajan disclosed that Rayudu told him before the tournament that his fitness has improved and he will hit big sixes. Rayudu feels that his fitness at the moment is equivalent to his 19-year-old self.