Ambati Rayudu’s announcement that he would retire from Ranji and focus only on limited-overs cricket raised a few eyebrows. With no white ball cricket scheduled in the Indian domestic season until February, Rayudu will have no preparation for the three ODIs in Australia which will begin from January 11. However, the 33-year-old from Hyderabad is not too fazed and he called the decision to retire as part of managing his workload. Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the Junior Super Kings inter-school T20 championship 2018, Rayudu said preserving his body was the only thing that featured in his mind when he made the decision to retire from First Class cricket.
“I am 33. I have had surgery to my knee in the past. I really wanted to make efficient use of my body in terms of the amount of cricket I play,” Rayudu said. When asked whether lack of preparation was an impediment, Rayudu that white ball cricket and red ball cricket preparation was different. “I mean definitely match practice is important. Anyway red ball cricket and white ball cricket there is a huge amount of difference. You can compensate by practising and playing other games,” the right-hander said.
Virat Kohli has made it clear that the team management is looking at Rayudu as a No 4 option going into the World Cup but the Hyderabad batsman doesn't have any choices or preferences. "I am basically not looking at any number as such. I am preparing for the series coming up in Australia. I am not really thinking too far beyond. As far as my training is concerned, I just look at my game and look at where I can improve and go about it," Rayudu said.
Asked how challenging it was preparing for the ODI series in Australia, the Hyderabad cricketer said preparations were going on well for the tour. "International cricket in itself is a challenge... so, all I can say is that I am preparing for the upcoming series in Australia the way I should. All I can say is I am preparing well..," he added.
Following the end of the Australia series, India go on a tour to New Zealand where they will play five ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals.