The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Focus is key for Rayudu

Calcutta: His aggressive batting has started getting recognition and earning him call-ups to the India A team, but Ambathi Thirupathi Rayudu has his feet firmly on the ground.

The 18-year-old from Sainikpuri, Secundrabad, made his mark on the junior India team’s tour of England last year and was included in the India Seniors side in the Challenger Trophy earlier this year. He was also picked for the India A team for the recent ‘Test’ series against Sri Lanka A apart from leading the national under-19 side to glory in Pakistan.

All this attention and speculation in the media on whether the teenager is actually a precious talent could have turned the head of any other boy of his age. But Rayudu seems to be focussed enough, maybe more than the average 18-year-old.

“It’s a question of attitude. The frame of mind has to be different if one has to make the leap from this level to the higher one. That is what I have learnt during my brief stint in the senior circuit,” said the standard XII student after Tuesday’s Hyderabad-Bengal Ranji Trophy match at Eden Gardens.

According to the player, the question of “attitude” was made clearer to him by Sunil Gavaskar during the pre-season conditioning camp for 30 national team probables held in Bangalore earlier this year.

“I am under no pressure,” said Rayudu when asked if all the attention and expectations are making it difficult for him, mentally. “I am not thinking of being picked for India at the moment. My first and foremost job is to score lots of runs for Hyderabad. I am not pressurising myself by waiting for a national call-up.”

Rayudu didn’t rue the cross-batted, against-the-spin swipe at Utpal Chatterjee that cut short his promising stay in the middle in Tuesday’s match. “The wicket was offering a lot of turn to the bowlers and that shot was on. I had played the same shot in the bowler’s previous over, but chose the wrong ball after that.”

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