Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians, IPL 2011, Jaipur April 29, 2011

I can see Rayudu playing for India - Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mumbai Indians batsman Ambati Rayudu could take a spot in India's Test middle order once the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman move on, Harbhajan Singh has said. According to him, Rayudu, who joined Mumbai in 2010 after cancelling his contract with the Indian Cricket League, was key to the side's run to the final in the previous season.

"He has special talent. He got lost [in domestic cricket] in between and we didn't hear much about him, but he's been playing really well for Mumbai Indians. Last season he was one of the main players who got us into the final, and I can see him playing for India," Harbhajan said. "He's got the capability to fill the shoes of Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman. That's what I think, in coming years you'll see him going a long way."

Harbhajan is looking forward to talking shop with Shane Warne when Mumbai play Rajasthan Royals on Friday. "It [the match] is an opportunity for youngsters like Rayudu and Rohit Sharma to face one of the world's best bowlers ever. Hopefully I'll get some time to talk to him about my bowling and about me going forward in international cricket."

Mumbai's fielding, which has received a lot of praise, is what won them the match against Chennai Super Kings on April 22, Harbhajan said. "Jonty Rhodes always pushes us to work really hard on our fielding. We all know that fielding is an area in which we can always improve. If you ask me, we won against Chennai because we fielded brilliantly and not because I took five wickets."

Harbhajan also said if spinners have been faring better in this IPL, it wasn't because of the pitches. "Pitches have been always slow in India. There have been bowlers like Praveen Kumar who've been getting wickets. You have to do different things in Twenty20, I feel you can't just bowl at 130 plus kph and get away with your four overs. You need some kind of swing or to bowl at 150 kph to survive this form.

"We [Mumbai] are doing well as a bowling unit. Even someone like Kieron Pollard, who is not purely a bowler, is capable of getting us three or four wickets on a good day. On a good day, anyone can win a game for us, that is what matters."

The environment in the Mumbai camp is a great one to be in, Harbhajan said. "Last season Zak [Zaheer Khan] was around, and Sachin [Tendulkar], Zak and I tried to makes ours a tight unit. That worked for us, and this year it is the same.

"Someone like T Suman, who has just come in [this season], we want him to feel like he's a part of the think tank. Whatever he feels, he can come and talk to us and give us his suggestions and feedback. We have a lot of confidence in each other, people talk about whatever they have on their mind, which is a great environment to be in."

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  • venkataramana rao on May 2, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    Rayadu is a special talent. For the tests, Rayadu, Virat, Badri and Pujara shd be in place of Sachin, Dravid, VVS. Along with Sehwag, Gambhir and Dhoni these 4 are the best guys to play in tests. Raina may slot in too. I hope we dont go back to expirementing with Yuvraj who shd focus on 20/20 and ODI. Badri and Virat should be in the test 14 anyways even before the Fab 3 retire.

    Incidentally Badri is even topping the averages in this IPL 2011 which is a pleasant surprise.

  • Dummy4 on April 30, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    Exactly, Rayudu should be given a chance,otherwise,he will become another Badrinath..i select this team for West Indies ODI & Tests: ODI Team: Sehwag, Gambhir, Virat,Badrinath, Yuvraj Singh,Raina,Ashwin,Sree Santh,Nehra,Praveen Kumar,Saha & Parthiv(WK),Pujara,Munaf Patel,Yusuf Pathan,

  • Vivek on April 29, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    Ambati Rayudu should be given a chance in ODI instead. There are much better batsmen than him waiting for a test debut. I think that Sehwag, Dhoni, Tendulkar, Harbhajan, and Ashish Nehra should be rested for the West Indies t20 and ODI series. Sachin should be rested for Tests as well

    My ODI Team for West Indies series would be: 1.Parthiv Patel(WICKET-KEEPER) 2.Gautam Gambhir(CAPTAIN) 3.Virat Kohli 4.Robin Uthappa 5.Yuvraj Singh 6.Saurabh Tiwari 7.Suresh Raina 8.Ravichandran Ashwin 9.Zaheer Khan 10.Praveen Kumar 11.Munaf Patel 12.Pragyan Ojha 13.Ambati Rayudu 14.Umesh Yadav 15.Yusuf Pathan

    My Test Team would be: 1.Virender Sehwag 2.Gautam Gambhir 3.Rahul Dravid 4.Ajinkya Rahane 5.VVS Laxman 6.Cheteshwar Pujara 7.MS Dhoni 8.Harbhajan Singh 9.Zaheer Khan 10.Sreesanth 11.Pragyan Ojha 12.Ishant Sharma 13.Amit Mishra 14.Murali Vijay 15.Ravichandran Ashwin

  • Srivatsan on April 29, 2011, 14:45 GMT

    Performing IPL should not be used to include someone in the test team, that too a replacement for Dravid!! Nonsense talk by Bhajji.. In terms of technique and class rohit and badri are way above the rest.. they are the ideal replacements for dravid and laxman.. and of course, tendulkar is a once-in-a-generation cricketer..no replacement is possible for him.

  • Srivatsan on April 29, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    I think once sachin, dravid and vvs retire the batting order has got to look like this.. 1.sehwag 2.gambhir 3.pujara 4.rohit/kohli 5. badri/raina 6.yuvi 7.dhoni ..I havent seen much of rahane and manoj tiwary in tests so I shouldnt comment on them without seeing them bat.. the most important fact is bowling where I feel Ishant, sreesanth/rp singh, ashwin , (possibly a leg spinner) should be there..

  • Anish on April 29, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    I think Virat Kohli should be drafted in test side before anyone else. he has been performing wonderfully well in ODI and 20/20. So why not give him a chance in test side?

  • Dummy4 on April 29, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    In the coming series against windies, england and aussies, we should have only 2 of the famous three sachin, vvs and Dravid. Then a good grommer inform of pujara or rayudu or badri will develop in 2 years of time. May be give Vijay too a chance in place of injured sehwag. Lets play pakistan too in neutral venue so that more and more test cric will be played and new players will be groomed

  • Rajesh on April 29, 2011, 13:26 GMT

    Talent wise Rayudu is second to none. I think Raydu is one of the few players in our country who can play bouncers effectively. Wat abt Rohit, Raina, Manish Pandey or Saurabh Tiwary when facing bouncers? everyone knows ... comapre the IPL 2010 & 11 performances of rayudu,rohit, raina, manish,tiwary, badrinath, rahane, poojara, Robin. Forget abt IPL compare the stats of last year's ranji season. May be poojara, badrinath and ajinkya rahane are ahead of rayudu in ranji season. Rayudu deserves a chance. Even Poojara, Badrinath and Rahane are the tough competitors. Someone said there are 20 Better players than Rayudu but as a keen observer of the domestic cricket i can proudly say rayudu can be placed in top 5 batsmen in our country. Rohit, Rayudu, Badrinath, Poojara, Rahane, Robin uthappa, Manish Pandey, Venugopal Rao, Saurabh Tiwary and vijay are the top 10 batsmen in the domestic circuit irrespective of whether they played international cricket in the current young generation.

  • avinash on April 29, 2011, 12:59 GMT

    @hardrock85...i concur with you...badrinath is a special guy..its unfortunate that he was born in the same era as that of sachin and co...he could have been a batting legend by now for some of the teams like pakistan who produce average batsmen...

  • Madhu on April 29, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    Most people dont realize that Rayudu was up and coming batsman about 5-7 yrs because of his technique and temperment. He got banned after playing in the ICL. He has changed his game to suit the T20. He definitely has better technique than Raina. Badrinath is as good or better than Rayudu. As far as Pujara, he has promise but still has a long way to go. Uthappa and Pandey are good for T20 only.

    The great VVS had picked out Rayudu several years ago to represent India!! I know people are giving bajji flak about this this choice but you have to respect VVS recommnedation

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