Rayudu should have scaled great heights with his skill, but his temperament always has come in the way.

Ambati Rayudu loses temper again Has the cricketer not learnt from his past mistakesFile photo: PTI
Voices Opinion Friday, September 01, 2017 - 17:09

In the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Harbhajan Singh of Mumbai Indians was bowling to Saurabh Tiwary of Rising Pune Supergiants. The ball was hit hard towards the boundary, where fielder Ambati Rayudu dived, attempting a catch but missed it. The Turbantor lost his cool and yelled at Rayudu.

But what followed was not Sreesanth-like sobbing after the Kerala speedster was reportedly slapped by Bhajji during an earlier edition of the IPL. Rayudu yelled back at his senior and walked angrily towards Harbhajan. Realising things were getting out of hand, Bhajji put his arm around Rayudu, only to be snubbed by the Hyderabadi.

A year later, when he was asked about his temper, Rayudu said, "I really do not have a short temper."

Those who have played with Rayudu may not quite agree. Nor would the person who was at the receiving end of Rayudu's road rage this week. A video clip surfaced where Rayudu is seen stepping out of his car angrily and hitting a man much older than him. The issue was reportedly over Rayudu's rash driving. The citizen had asked him to drive carefully.

Yet again, Rayudu brushed the incident aside as a minor issue.

What Rayudu, who is now Hyderabad Ranji team captain, does not realise is that such manifestation of irrational anger, on or off the field, does little to boost his role model status. Those who have known him say this is largely to blame for the talented youngster's inability to make a permanent place for himself in the India team.

The 31-year-old made his First Class debut when he was just 16 years old and was considered definite India material. Yet he managed to make his ODI debut for India only in 2013, when he was 27. A bad decision to join the ICL proved costly and moving out of Hyderabad meant tongues started wagging about his attitude.

The latest incident in Hyderabad is a minor scuffle and nothing like Navjot Singh Sidhu's infamous 1991 case, where he was charged and convicted for culpable homicide, it shows Rayudu in poor light. What it does is to immediately brand him as a repeat offender.

Rayudu's first public spat occurred more than a decade ago on the cricket field with N Arjun Yadav (former India player Shivlal Yadav's son), during a Ranji Trophy game in Anantapur in AP. Rayudu was representing Andhra Pradesh, while Arjun was playing for Hyderabad.

Ironically now when Rayudu is back with Hyderabad, Arjun has been appointed as the team coach, after the duo decided to let bygones be bygones.

"The more people try to pull us down, the more determined we are to prove them wrong. What happened then was past. It was one of those incidents which happened when we were young,” Arjun told The Hindu.

"Both of us have seen the highs and lows of Hyderabad cricket in the last few years. So, we are determined to script a new chapter," Rayudu said.

At 31, Rayudu's best is perhaps behind him but he can certainly play an important role for Hyderabad cricket where he learnt his basics. And it will be in the interest of Hyderabad cricket if he is in the news for cricketing reasons only. Leading the HCA XI to victory in the Moin-ud-Dowla tournament this year was great news. Wish the street brawl had not soured the victory champagne.

 

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