Chennai, Feb. 14 -- Ambati Rayudu had played beautifully till a rash shot ended his wonderful innings of 87.
"It's not the end of my life. I'll get more hundreds," he declared, when asked if he was disappointed to miss out on a century. For someone touted for bigger things as early as 2002 but who hasn't yet played for India, taking disappointments in his stride is nothing new.
At 27, and having been called into India's Twenty20 squad, Rayudu is in the second phase of his career - the one with the defunct Indian Cricket League and another with the Indian Premier League.
His knock on Wednesday for the Board President's XI against the Australians has followed his unbeaten 156 for Rest of India against Mumbai in last week's Irani Cup. The two innings bear testimony to the fact that Rayudu has not lost his best years yet.
Best on view
In fact, he was the best batsman on view in the two-day warm-up encounter. Facing up to the bowlers who will mainly make up the Aussie bowling attack for the first Test, Rayudu stood like a rock even as his team-mates deserted him.
His demolishing of spinners was a treat to watch, the ability to get into the pitch of the ball and smack them. He showed good temperament when the faster men Jackson Bird, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle operated and got to reverse the ball.
The hundred was there for his taking but an attempt to heave Moises Henriques over the ropes only resulted in his holing out to mid-off. Even then Rayudu has made a statement and could be one of the contenders for the Test spot.
"I'm really happy I batted well today, I just want to keep doing well in whatever games I get to play. I was just watching the ball today, just wanted to spend time there," the soft-spoken Rayudu said.
He said there was no secret to his success since his return to the BCCI fold after ending his ties with ICL.
"I am doing something I love doing, so I don't think I need any motivation to play cricket."
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.