Ambati Rayudu might have seen his recall to the India team fall away in a cruel manner after he failed the Yo-Yo fitness test but the batsman remains focused on working his way back into the national team set-up.
The Chennai Super Kings batsman was handed another chance in the India ODI side for the tour of England after his exemplary performances with the bat for the IPL champions. However, his failure to clear the Yo-Yo test at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru cost him dear, with his CSK team-mate Suresh Raina taking his place in the squad.
Despite that setback, Rayudu is not giving up on his dreams of returning to the Indian side for the first time since 2016.
“Of course, I have not yet given up hope of playing for India. The dream of playing for India very much remains. I have been working on my game,” Rayudu was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
“I hope to take the test again in the coming days and hope to clear it,” he added.
Rayudu, who scored 602 runs for Chennai in the IPL this year at an average of 43, thanked the franchise for their belief in him.
“The franchise made me feel at home. The environment in the team, the warmth of fans, atmosphere and the team management propelled us to give our best. I must thank every player. I am happy that I could experience that feeling. I could express myself. We were in a very good space mentally and that really helps. I hope to do better next season,” he said.
While Rayudu deals with his axing, Raina will be hoping to stake his claim for a permanent ODI role in the three-match series to come against England.
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Kohli is just eight runs shy of the landmark that has only been attained by three batsmen in T20 Internationals history. New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum was the first to get to the mark, followed by his compatriot Martin Guptill.
If Kohli attains the feat on Tuesday, he will become the fastest to get to the 2,000-run mark. McCullum is currently the quickest to the mark after taking 66 innings to get there. Guptill took 68 innings to reach the landmark while Malik is the slowest of the three at 92 innings.
Kohli, who has so far played only 55 T20I innings, should easily break that record. He has scored 1, 992 runs in the format at an average of 48.58 and a strike-rate of 137.
Meanwhile, Rohit is 51 runs short of the landmark and he could beat his skipper to the mark given the fact that he plays as an opener. The Mumbai-born batsman has scored 1, 949 runs in the format in 74 innings at an average of 31.43 and a strike-rate of nearly 137.
It will be a straight shootout between the two batsmen as to who becomes the first Indian to get to the mark when the visitors take the field against England on Tuesday.
Virat Kohli’s men are fresh from a 2-0 series win in the format over Ireland and will be looking to make a winning start against the in-form hosts. The Indian side has seen a couple of changes in the lead-up to the series with the injured Jasprit Bumrah and Washington Sundar being replaced by Deepak Chahar and Krunal Pandya respectively.
Bumrah’s injury opens the door for Umesh Yadav to stake his claim for a starting role. Umesh was seen hard at work at the nets along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Tuesday.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer is coming into the series after a fine IPL campaign where he bowled some fiery spells. While he is expected to replace Bumrah in the line-up on Tuesday, there could be plenty of shuffling in India’s middle-order. With Shikhar Shawan and Rohit Sharma near unshakable from the opening slot, the in-form KL Rahul is expected to feature in the middle-order.
The Karnataka batsman had a splendid IPL with the bat for Kings XI Punjab and although he naturally plays as an opener, he has been made to bat in the middle-order for India.
Suresh Raina was in decent form in the Ireland series, which means Dinesh Karthik could miss out on the playing XI once again despite his impressive showing in the Nidahas T20 tri-series earlier this year.
It will be all the more unlucky for Karthik given that he did not get an opportunity to bat during the second T20 against Ireland despite being named in the playing XI. However, with Kohli’s comments about testing various middle-order combinations during the tour, the 33-year-old should get his chance.
Kohli will definitely try to restrict England’s batsmen through the wrist-spin pair of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Hardik Pandya will once again hold the all-rounder’s slot.
INDIA LIKELY XI
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.