Days after his decision to come out of retirement from cricket, Ambati Rayudu was on Saturday appointed the captain of Hyderabad team for the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy. Rayudu had announced his retirement after World Cup but decided to take a U-turn and state that he stills harbours the dream of representing India.
Despite being pitted as India’s preferred No. 4, Rayudu was not included in India’s World Cup squad and was instead named as a back-up. But astonishingly, Rishabh Pant was flown in place of injured Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal was named in the squad when Vijay Shankar was ruled out. Upset by the snub, Rayudu decided to quit all forms of cricket with immediate effect.
However, convinced that Rayudu still had a lot of cricket left in him, Noel David, chief selector at the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), and VVS Laxman played a big role in persuading Rayudu to change his decision.
“This guy (Rayudu) has five years of cricket left in him. He is just 33. Yes, he went through the period where he could have been in the World Cup side but unfortunately he was not there. He felt very bad and was dejected,” David said over phone. “Me and Laxman, we just consoled him and told him ‘You have so much cricket left. So make a comeback, play for your state and then think about the making a comeback to the national team. Your experience will help youngsters, benefit Hyderabad team.’ The convincing part is now done.”
Rayudu, in his letter to the HCA, thanked David, Laxman and his Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super League for their role in bringing him back to cricket.
Apart from Rayudu, Mohammed Siraj is another India international who has been named in the Hyderabad squad. Hyderabad will kick off their season against Karnataka on September 24.
The Ambati Rayudu-led side will next face Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Saurashtra, Mumbai and Kerala in the league stage. Hyderabad will play all their matches in Bangalore.
Hyderabad Vijay Hazare Trophy Squad: Ambati Rayudu (CAPTAIN) B Sandeep (Vice captain), P Aksath Reddy,Tanmay Agarwal, Thakur Varma, Rohit Rayudu, C V Milind, Mehdi Hasan, Saket Sai Ram, Mohammed Siraj, Mickil Jaiswal, J Mallikarjun (W K), Karthikeya Kak, T Ravi Teja, Aaya Dev Goud
Rayudu interestingly will be available for the full season including the Ranji Trophy. He had made himself unavailable for red ball cricket last year.