Ambati Rayudu is delighted on being selected to represent India in the two-match T-20 series against England later this month.

“It is a great feeling obviously. And, all I am looking for is to stay focused and live up to the expectations,” said the batsman from Hyderabad.

The 27-year-old Rayudu, who earlier represented India ‘A’ quite successfully, reminds that he did not set himself any big targets. “I want to keep things simple and stick to basics,” he said. “Honestly, given the recent good run at different levels, I was optimistic of getting the big break and I am glad that I could make it,” he added.

Rayudu in a chat with The Hindu agreed that playing for Mumbai Indians for three seasons did help him a lot in evolving into a much more mature and responsible cricketer. “There is no better feeling than to play alongside such greats like Sachin Tendulkar. The most impressive facet of this great character is his work ethics, his humility despite such fabulous achievements. We naturally tend to pick a few new things,” he explained.

Rayudu is grateful to coaches Vijay Paul and Nagesh Hammand for all their help in his early school days. “Then, there are many including India ‘A’ coach Robin Singh sir, the current Baroda coach Sanath Kumar who helped me a lot,” he added. “Well, I cannot forget the contribution of either the HCA or the Baroda Cricket Association for giving me the big breaks when I was looking for in domestic cricket,” he said to a query.

“I dedicate this call to my parents and wife for their unstinted support in my hour of crisis and always made me believe that bigger things in cricket will follow me,” said a smiling Rayudu.

For someone who admires former Aussie captain Steve Waugh a lot, Rayudu is determined to make optimum use of the huge opportunity of serving the country. “There is no better feeling than to play for India. It should be easily a dream-come-true finish for me,” he concluded.

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