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Prajakta Pawar in Mumbai

It’s about enjoying the challenge: Rayudu

MI batsman speaks about batting in various roles

Adaptability is the one word that aptly describes Ambati Rayudu. He slips into any role assigned by his team with ease. Batting at different positions for his team has been the USP of this batsman who can also don the gloves or roll his arm over when required.

Rayudu thrives on challenges and believes that enjoying it is what helps him adapt to the different roles, varying conditions and changing circumstances in the game.

A stylish stroke-maker, Rayudu has been an integral part of the Mumbai Indians team since his induction into the franchise in 2010.

After a winning campaign against Australia A in Australia, Rayudu is headed to England for the One-day series before joining the Mumbai Indians to defend the CLT20 title in the 2014 edition of the tournament.

While speaking to CLT20.com, Rayudu spoke about his Indian Premier League team and the forthcoming season.

Excerpts from the interview:

You have been in decent form. How do you feel about your batting right now?

I am in a good space. I have been doing well over the past three-four years and have been consistent as well so I am happy with the way I have been batting. And I am continuously trying to improve.

What have you been doing to achieve consistency?

I’m trying to simplify my game and come up with a game plan to play in different conditions. I am basically trying to just keep it simple.

What are the areas that you are working on?

There are a lot of areas that I would like to improve on. Everywhere you go the conditions are different so adapting to them as quickly as possible is something that I need to work on.

How do you prepare differently for different conditions (e.g. Australia to England and back to India)?

In Australia the wickets are fast and bouncy, in England as you can see (in the ongoing tour) the wickets are slightly slower but the ball moves around. I have been trying to simulate those conditions in the nets during practice. I am trying to work on a few areas and hopefully I can do what is required.

How would you describe your role?

My role in the team has been changing from time to time over the years. Every role is a challenge and I enjoy batting up the order as well as finishing games and playing under pressure. That’s the sort of role (various roles and responsibilities) I personally enjoy as a cricketer so I am happy with the roles given to me.

How do you prepare to adapt to changing roles?

When it comes to batting I have always played in the top-order or the middle-order for my state also. Before that even in school cricket I have been playing in a lot different position. It’s never been a set position that I have batted on, so I have got used to batting at different positions, different circumstances. I think finishing games and batting lower down the order comes with experience. It’s all about enjoying the challenge.

What are you looking forward to in the tournament?

In the forthcoming campaign we would be much better prepared I would say then the IPL. The squad started settling down towards the back end of the tournament unfortunately. It was good that we made it to the CLT20. It gave us another opportunity to showcase our team spirit. My position and role in the team differs according to the situation and the squad and conditions. I am mentally prepared to do any role that would be given to me by the team.

What are the areas that the team will be focusing on?

Unlike the IPL, CLT20 is a short tournament so I don’t think we would have the leeway like in the IPL where we came back and do well in the later stages. In the CLT20 we need to be sharp from the start. We have learnt our lesson from South Africa where we were a slightly slow to get off the mark and we struggled. So I think in CLT20 definitely we need to be really sharp at the start of the tournament and gain the momentum itself to winning the tournament.

With Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard around what kind of knowledge sharing about power hitting takes place in the dugout?

There are a lot of areas (that are discussed). They actually complement each other well. There are different stages to a T20 game. They are very destructive when they come around the 15th-16th over but in the middle period from about the eighth to the 14th over it is for others to make sure that they are not under too much pressure. 

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