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Ambati Rayudu doesn’t feel there is a competition for middle-order slots

India will play their first match in Asia Cup against Hong Kong on Tuesday. The next day, they will play Pakistan.

Ambati Rayudu of India
Ambati Rayudu. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

For Ambati Rayudu, the 14th edition of Asia Cup which kicked off on Saturday is a crucial opportunity ahead of next year’s World Cup. However, the 32-year-old batsman refuses to acknowledge that there is a competition for middle-order slots in the run-up to the mega event. Rayudu last played an ODI for India in June 2016 and made it back to the national team after a while.

The batsman, who made the cut after passing the mandatory fitness test, has been among runs this year. He had a decent outing in the Indian Premier League for the Chennai Super Kings this year, finishing as the fourth-highest scorer, and also had a string of good scores in the recently held Quadrangular Series in India for India ‘A’.

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“To be very honest, (I) haven’t thought about it or looked at it as a competition. It is just an opportunity to express myself and I don’t want to put more pressure to my game by thinking about these (things),” The Hindu quoted Rayudu as saying before India’s training session at the ICC Academy.

Absence of Kohli, Rahane creates opening in middle order

The absence of regular captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in Asia Cup has created an opening for batsmen like Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, KL Rahul besides Rayudu to prove their worth and none of them would like to miss the chance ahead of the next big tournament which is the World Cup.

Fitness has also been a reason why Rayudu missed international cricket for over two years now. Had he not been hit by a knee injury after his last international assignment in Zimbabwe more than two years ago, he might have gone ahead to cement his position in the middle-order. The cricketer missed competitive cricket for almost a year because of the injury.

Rayudu, who has played 34 ODIs and six T20Is, however, said he was not frustrated because of missing cricket.
“I don’t think there was period of frustration. After 2016, I was injured for year. This year I played well in the IPL. Main thing is I feel age doesn’t matter as long as you are fit,” he was quoted as saying. Rayudu has scored nearly 1,100 international runs with two hundreds in the ODIs.

India will play their first match in Asia Cup against Hong Kong on Tuesday. The next day, they will play Pakistan.

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