Ambati Rayudu’s first tryst with the Sankar Cement Tamil Nadu Twenty20 Premier League (TNPL) has surprised him no end, be it the organisation, the venue or the facilities on offer for the players.
The 33-year-old, who retired from all forms of the game last month, was so enthralled by the set-up at the NPR College Ground that he watched the Ravichandran Ashwin-led Dindigul Dragons and VB Kanchi Veerans on Monday evening by standing close to the sightscreen.
“I am actually very, very impressed by looking at the ground. I think it shows how good the tournament is. I can see a lot of young boys playing with cricketers like (Ravichandran) Ashwin,” said the former India star.
“When we were growing up, we never had a tournament like this. It is a fast-tracker (to national cricket) and this tournament helps a lot of youngsters from small towns and districts where people always dream about playing cricket at higher levels and I feel it can’t get any better than this,” the 33-year-old said. “I am very happy that TNPL has set the standards.”
Given a chance to bat at the NPR College ground, Rayudu said he would jump at the opportunity. “Definitely (would love to bat here). Looks like a beautiful wicket and a good place to bat,” said the Guntur-born cricketer.
Rayudu, who retired from all forms of cricket last month, was delighted to see his Chennai Super Kings teammate Narayan Jagadeesan leading the run-charts this season. He believes the 24-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, who was picked up by the franchise for his base price of Rs 20 lakh in 2018, has the potential to be a regular in the CSK team.
“Over the years I have seen Jagadeesan play, he is doing well. He is part of CSK and I’m really liking the way he is coming into the zone.
“I feel he is extremely talented and he is converting that talent into interesting performances. Hopefully, he will get into CSK (first eleven) and play a lot more cricket in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Jagadeesan has notched the most number of runs this season (361 runs from 6 games) and is also the leading run-getter in the league with 1265 runs from 29 matches. The Coimbatore cricketer, who became the first to score 1,000 runs in the 100th TNPL match in Tirunelveli last month, also leads the list for most number of fifties (13) and fours (136) in the tournament.
Rayudu, who played 55 one-day internationals, six Twenty20 Internationals and 97 first-class matches in his 18-year cricketing career, also has some advice for young players in TNPL. “All I would say is, learn from the international cricketers. That will be a major takeaway for the youngsters because they know exactly how to play or this sport is supposed to be played. I am sure the young players are doing this. In this sport, every day you learn,” he signed off.
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