Despite announcing his retirement from “all forms and levels” of the game in early July, Ambati Rayudu has clarified that he would “definitely be playing the IPL for Chennai Super Kings” next season and keep playing white-ball cricket.
Rayudu, currently in Chennai playing the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s one-day league for Grand Slam, attempted to clear the air on his status, explaining that his retirement announcement on July 3 was not in reaction to being snubbed by the selectors for the World Cup but because he was disappointed at not making the cut.
The 33-year-old batsman was thought of as the frontrunner to fill the No. 4 spot in the ODI batting order, but was left out of the main squad of 15 and named in the list of standby players. But, following injuries to Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay Shankar, Rishabh Pant and then Mayank Agarwal, who weren’t among the standbys, travelled to England.
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But, speaking to Times of India on Friday, Rayudu said: “I would definitely be playing the IPL for Chennai Super Kings and make a comeback into white-ball cricket. My priority now is to get back into peak fitness.” Rayudu also said that he wouldn’t be seeking his fortunes in overseas T20 leagues, as had been speculated.
On being asked about his statement on bringing the curtain down on a “wonderful journey of playing the sport and learning from every up and down it brought up on for the last 25 years”, Rayudu said that it wasn’t an “emotional decision” but an expression of his disappointment at missing out on the World Cup.
“I wouldn’t say it was an emotional decision, because I worked very hard for the World Cup in the last four years,” he said. “You are bound to be disappointed and I felt it was time. The decision that I took was not because of rejection or anything else.
“You work towards something and when you don’t get it, you feel it’s time to move on.”
Rayudu, who said he would be sending the BCCI “a formal letter soon” to inform it of his change of heart, added that he wasn’t thinking about a spot in any of the India white-ball teams yet – he had announced his retirement from first-class cricket in late 2018.
“I haven’t thought that far yet,” he said of a return to the national side. “I need to take it step by step and see how things pan out in the coming months.”