Dubai, Sep 16: Batsman Ambati Rayudu is looking up to “everybody’s go-to man” Mahendra Singh Dhoni for inspiration and guidance as a Virat Kohli-less India gear up for the Asia Cup here.
India reached UAE without Kohli, who has been rested by the selectors owing to excess workload.
“Obviously he (Virat) is a big miss and loss to the team. However, we still have enough quality in the team to go out and win. He (Dhoni) has been India’s captain and always been the go-to man for everybody in the team,” Rayudu said at a media conference on Saturday.
“He (Dhoni) has helped me a lot in terms of how I recovered this season.”
With India yet to settle their middle-order conundrum with less than a year left for the World Cup, there is a chance for players such as Rayudu to cement their places in the team.
“To be very honest, (I) haven’t thought about it (middle-order) or looked at it as a competition. It’s just an opportunity to express myself and (I) don’t want to put more pressure to my game by thinking about these,” he said.
The 32-year-old, returning to the team after a long injury-induced layoff, added, “I don’t think anybody is actually thinking about the World Cup. We are in for the Asia Cup and I don’t think anybody is thinking about it right now.”
India’s opening match in the tournament is against Hong Kong on September 18, a day before they take on traditional rivals Pakistan.
“I don’t think it will be a disadvantage. It will be definitely tough and I’m sure we will do the best possible things to recover and go out fresh to play the next game.”
He said that it was frustrating to miss out on the limited-overs leg of the England tour despite a stellar Indian Premier League season for Chennai Super Kings. Rayudu failed to the make the Indian team after flunking the yo-yo test in his first attempt.
“Obviously it was frustrating to miss out on the England tour. But I’m happy that I can come back and give the test and get picked to play in the Asia Cup.
“This year I played well in the IPL. The main thing is that I feel an age doesn’t matter as long as you are fit.”
After clearing the yo-yo tests at the second attempt, Rayudu played for India A in the Tri-Series involving Australia A and South Africa A and tasted success.
His 62 not out against Australia A in a low-scoring affair in Bangalore turned out to be a Man-of-the-Match performance. Against South Africa A at Alur, he made 66.