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Rayudu fails fitness test, likely to miss England ODI series

He was among several Indian players, including Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, who appeared for the fitness test at the NCA in Bengaluru

Nagraj Gollapudi
Ambati Rayudu lines up to play a shot, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Chennai Super Kings, IPL, April 25, 2018


Ambati Rayudu is likely to lose his place in the Indian squad for the three-match ODI series in England next month after failing to clear a mandatory fitness test. Rayudu was among several Indian players, including captain Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, who appeared for the fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
Rayudu, 32, was one of the architects behind Chennai Super Kings' title-winning run in the IPL this year. Among the top-five run-scorers, this season was the best IPL Rayudu had, scoring 602 runs at a strike rate of 149.75 including one century.
After impressing with his form during the IPL, Rayudu got a berth for the England ODIs, which start on July 12 in Nottingham. However, Rayudu, who last played an ODI in 2016, still had to clear the yo-yo test, made mandatory by the Indian team management and supported by the selectors.
Players need to attain the 16:1 mark, the minimum level set for Indian players by the team's strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu.
Although the BCCI is yet to make the news public, it is understood that Rayudu fell short of the minimum cut-off by a reasonable distance. The selectors are set to name a replacement soon.
Fitness has become a key parameter for selection for the Indian teams with the selectors and coaches showing no room for compromise. Last week, the BCCI revealed that Sanju Samson and Mohammed Shami had failed the fitness tests and consequently lost their spots. Shami missed out on being part of the one-off Test against Afghanistan which got over on Friday, while Samson failed to be part of the India A squad to tour England in June-July.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo