"Selected With Hope That He Will Be Next Sachin Tendulkar": Ex India Batter On CSK Star
Sharing an interesting tale from CSK star's early career, Aakash Chopra revealed how high was the player rated.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 came to a close with Chennai Super Kings beating Gujarat Titans in the final. With the 16th edition of the IPL, the career of veteran batter Ambati Rayudu also came to a close. While his Team India stint had ended a few years ago, Rayudu quit all forms of the game after the IPL. Sharing some interesting anecdotes from Rayudu's career, former India batter Aakash Chopra recalled the CSK star's teenage days, saying he was selected with the hope of being the 'next Sachin Tendulkar'.
"Let me share a little anecdote about my first meeting with Ambati Rayudu. It was in 2003, it was India A's tour to the West Indies. A small kid named Ambati Rayudu was picked there. He would have probably been 16 years old at that time," Chopra said in a video on his YouTube channel.
"He was selected with the hope that he will be the next Sachin Tendulkar, that the boy is extremely talented. He is like the prodigy, that he could bat, fields extremely well and could bowl too," he added.
The cricketer-turned-pundit revealed that the senior players in the team were given special instructions to take care of Rayudu as he was considered a prodigy.
"Ashok Malhotra was our coach there and there were special directions to him from the selectors to take care of the kid because he is India's future. VVS Laxman was the captain on the tour and he had seen the kid playing in Hyderabad. So he was impressed but when you are making the team you need to take all things into account.
"Our team didn't have a single off-spinner. It was an extremely interesting team selection. We had Murali Kartik as a left-arm spinner and Amit Mishra as a leg-spinner. In batting, we had Gautam Gambhir, Connor Williams, myself, VVS Laxman and Abhijit Kale. So Ambati Rayudu got a chance to play in such a team," he revealed.
As a result, Rayudu ended up having a horrible time as a spinner.
"The poor guy got to bat very low in the order and he was asked to bowl off-spin in between, which the poor guy was unable to do. He was sometimes pitching the ball on his own legs or the batters' legs, full tosses at other times, and wicket-taking balls in between."
"I remember the short-leg and midwicket fielders used to be slightly scared whenever Ambati came to bowl because the West Indies guys used to hit very hard. So you were scared because you were in the firing line. I used to be at short leg, so I used to ask him not to bowl short."