"He should have played World Cup" - Ex-India coach calls out Shastri-Kohli for 'huge blunder'
Despite being a diligent player in Indian cricket, his international journey fell short of expectations. Although he represented India in 55 ODIs and six T20Is, he struggled to cement a permanent place in the Playing XI.
Ambati Rayudu, after an illustrious journey bid adieu to his IPL career on a high note, lifting his sixth title, three of which were with the Chennai Super Kings. Notably, Rayudu's most memorable stint came in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup, where he stepped up as a much-needed No. 4 batsman.
Between September 2018 and March 2019, Rayudu provided respite for India's long-standing No. 4 dilemma. Following a remarkable IPL 2018 season, where he achieved his T20 batting peak by scoring 602 runs, Rayudu played 21 ODIs during the following six months, performing decently with 639 runs, including one century and four fifties.
However, when the squad for the World Cup in England was announced, Rayudu's name surprisingly went missing. Instead, KL Rahul was chosen for the No. 4 position, and all-rounder Vijay Shankar was included based on his IPL performances that year, a decision that unraveled as the tournament progressed.
Rayudu took a direct dig at the management following his exclusion
India bowling legend Anil Kumble believes it was a 'huge blunder' not to include Rayudu in the England-bound team. Kumble opined the decision to omit Rayudu despite preparing him for the role for six months was a grave mistake by captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri.
"Rayudu should have played the 2019 World Cup. Oh yes, there's no doubt about it. It was a huge blunder. You prepared him for that role for so long and his name just disappears from the squad. It was surprising nonetheless," Kumble said on Jio Cinema when the IPL 2023 final was stalled due to rain after the Gujarat Titans innings.
Rayudu's exclusion had significant repercussions. Expressing his discontent, Rayudu tweeted, "Just ordered a new set of 3D glasses to watch the World Cup," in response to a comment by former chief selector MSK Prasad refering to Vijay Shankar as a '3D player'. Rayudu briefly retired during India's World Cup campaign before retracting it but never played for India again.