Ambati Rayudu appears to be at peace with himself these days. His calm exterior reflects his state of mind.
“I was relaxed out there today. I wanted to enjoy my cricket. I just want to keep doing well,” he said after his innings of 87 against the Australians here on Wednesday.
Rayudu confessed that playing for India in Tests was his big dream, but was not willing to put pressure on himself. “I just want to focus on my batting. I was happy that I spent so much time at the crease. I am getting into good positions and I feel good.”
The right-hander burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old, conjuring a magnificent, match-winning 177 against host England in an under-19 One-Day contest. Here was a shot-maker with possibilities.
Subsequently, Rayudu went through a gamut of emotions as his career ran into rough weather. He has learnt to take disappointments in his stride.
Asked what motivated him during the dark phase, Rayudu replied, “I love this game. Just being able to play this game is the greatest motivation in itself.” Rayudu, who has made 5183 runs in 80 first class matches at 46.27, has found his feet again after moving to Baroda, which he now represents in the Ranji Trophy.
Moises Henriques caught the eye with a crafty display of pace bowling that fetched him four wickets for just 12 runs in 9.3 overs of precision.
“I thought the ball reversed a bit. It was great for us to get used to these conditions,” he said.
The 26-year-old all-rounder from New South Wales added quickly that the conditions at SCG, his home ground, also encouraged reverse swing on occasions.
He said the presence of all-rounder Shane Watson in the team — Watson will not bowl, at least, in the initial stages of the series — was an added motivation for him.
“He has bowled in India in the past and that will be a great help. I tried to bowl the same way as he does. That is to keep it tight and build pressure on the batsmen,” Henriques said.
Henriques was appreciative of Rayudu’s innings. “I thought he batted well. He used his feet.”