Australia and New Zealand games very important for Ambati Rayudu: Sourav Ganguly
Former Indian National Cricket Team skipper Sourav Ganguly has expressed apprehension that Ambati Rayudu has to perform in the remainder of the Australia series before carrying the form to New Zealand in a bid to stake the claim permanently for the number four position. Ganguly added Rayudu could not bat down the order.
“These games in Australia and New Zealand will be very important for him and will decide if he can be India’s No.4 or not. He can’t bat anywhere below No.4,” Ganguly said during IndiaTV’s show Cricket Ki Baat.
Ganguly further added he is not worried about Team India opener Shikhar Dhawan, but Rayudu should score runs in away conditions to cement his particular spot in the national fold.
However, in the recent past, Rayudu has impressed one and all with his quality performance while batting at No.4 spot which has been a cause of concern for Team India. Earlier, in the One-day International series opener against Australia at Sydney, Rayudu returned to the pavilion for nought after facing two deliveries.
“I’m not concerned about Shikhar Dhawan because he was in good form in T20s but I’m concerned about Ambati Rayudu,” Ganguly maintained.
During the eleventh edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018, while representing Mumbai Indians (MI), Rayudu amassed 602 runs in 16 games at the average of 43. Moreover, he smashed a hundred and three half-centuries under his belt.
The southpaw Ganguly reiterated that the ICC 2019 World Cup is around the corner and set to be hosted in England and Wales, but Team India would want Rayudu to score runs outside India.
“Im not convinced unless Rayudu can score. Virat [Kohli] has claimed earlier that he has claimed the No.4 spot but he has to score runs. It’s imperative to allow Rayudu to play so that India can solve the No.4 spot dilemma,” Ganguly added.
Virat Kohli is a big player:
Also, Ganguly believes impactful Kohli could deliver in the Adelaide ODI.
“Virat Kohli scored a century in Tests and after that he has been a little light (in terms of runs). But he can score a century in Adelaide. And he can do so in the last match as well,” Ganguly reiterated.
Ganguly backs MS Dhoni’s approach in Sydney ODI:
On the other side, Ganguly stated Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s go-slow approach doesn’t concern him much. He reiterated Dhoni has been batting like that for a time now. Pertinently, Dhoni scored 51 off 96 balls. Unfortunately, on-field umpire adjudged Dhoni lbw at the crucial juncture of the game. It further draws flak following India’s 34-run loss at Sydney.
“Dhoni’s strike-rate has been like this for a while. Even in England he was batting like that. In the previous match the situation was different and he had to bat that way but after building an innings, you can’t get out like that. But, I’m not concerned about him after just after one match,” Ganguly said.
Ganguly, who represented India in 311 ODIs, believes the upcoming games will be important for Dhoni as well. He asserted India could make a strong comeback against the Kangaroos to clinch the series even after trailing by 1-0.
“These games in Australia and New Zealand will be very important. India have been in this situation many times before and they have won after being 1-0 down. This situation is not different for India, so India can come back and win,” Ganguly further said.
In conclusion, the 46-year-old veteran Ganguly didn’t rule out Australia’s prominence in the limited-overs format. He further put weight behind middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb for Aussie success.
“Peter Handscomb was in good form in the middle order and his importance in this batting line-up is important. They also have good fast bowlers and I liked this team. This Australia is better than the Test team and they are capable of winning and it will be a good contest,” concludes Ganguly.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing second ODI, hosts Australia had set a target of 299 for India.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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