Is Ambati Rayudu too slow for modern day ODI cricket?
Looking at the average (49.89) that Ambati Rayudu possesses in One Day International cricket, it makes one wonder - why Rayudu has not been a regular in the Indian ODI team. Ambati Rayudu has only played 43 matches for India so far and batted in 39 of them.
He has been an IPL great who has scored a lot of runs for the two teams he has played for, so far. He has been a consistent IPL performer over the years. Also, he has scored runs against almost all the oppositions he has played against during his short ODI career.
So, why has he not been an answer to India's middle order woes and why India keeps looking beyond him every now and then?
The way One Day cricket has evolved over the years has resulted into it becoming a batsman's game, bowlers are thrashed all around the park by batsmen and total's even in excess of 300 are not safe to defend anymore.
This kind of high scoring has brought attacking style of batting to the fore which in turn has resulted into a lot of batsmen becoming a misfit for demands of modern day ODI cricket.
Earlier when 250 used to be the winning total - batsmen who could stay at the crease for a long time were the need of the hour. Now, however, when even 350 cannot guarantee teams a victory, batsmen who can score big along with a strike rate of around 100 are in demand.
This is where Rayudu has been found wanting - he has a career strike rate of 77.68 which is equivalent to a snail's pace in modern day ODI cricket. If a team scores at a strike rate of 77.68 in 50 overs then it will score a total of 233, which is an indicator of how slow Rayudu bats in one-day cricket.
If one delves further into Rayudu's one day record another important aspect comes out - his inability to score big and fast during the first innings of a One Day match. He has batted 19 times during the first innings of an ODI and he has scored 599 runs at an average of 35.23 with a poor strike rate of 78.81 and he has scored just 1 hundred during these 19 innings.
An era when a team is expected to score more than 300 every time it comes out to bat, it is almost criminal for a top-order batsman to score at a strike rate which results in a score of less than 250.
When we move on to his stats while chasing, his average appreciably increases to 74.8 however, his strike rate goes down further to 76.8.
This kind of ball-consuming high scoring can be counterproductive towards a team's batting effort as it will deny important time on the crease to other more attacking batsmen who could propel the team towards a much higher team total.
At a time when India's superb top order is not even receiving an iota of support from its middle order, Rayudu seems to be too slow for backing up the attacking starts given by the top order batsmen. It might be the time for India to stop circling around the older players and start looking for the fresh middle-order talent.
Statistics courtesy: HowSTAT