'Nervous, emotional' Rayudu cherishes success

India

Batsman Ambati Rayudu delighted in a successful debut, after playing a key part in India's six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in Wednesday's first ODI at the Harare Sports Club.

Batsman Ambati Rayudu delighted in a successful debut, after playing a key part in India's six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in Wednesday's first ODI at the Harare Sports Club.

Rayudu's unbeaten 63 was the picture of concentration, complementing captain and centurion Virat Kohli superbly. The duo shared an outstanding 159-run partnership for the third wicket, which effectively laid the foundation for a triumph with all of 31 deliveries to spare.

Zimbabwe had fought hard for their final total of 228 for seven, with the Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza's confident 82 at the fore of the charge. Kohli and the 27-year-old Rayudu, however, quick to punish an inadequate host attack in reply.

"It feels marvelous. It has been pretty emotional. More than nervous, I was very emotional. I think Virat is playing the best cricket possible. I definitely feel that he is the best in the world right now in the one-day format," enthused Rayudu.

"He made it a lot easier for me, and I was just looking at the way he was constructing his innings. It's a very good learning experience. I always had the belief that if I could get things right and I could get my mind right I could make it into the team one day, and I'm really happy that I got my chance here."

The talented right-hander's call-up to the international fold was largely earned on the back of a fine stretch of form for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, during which experience gained alongside the veteran Sachin Tendulkar and mentor Robin Singh proved invaluable.

"My family, my friends and especially the Mumbai Indians support staff have been there for me. Sachin Tendulkar and Robin especially. They've helped me a lot, and I'd definitely like to thank them for that," concluded Rayudu.

The second ODI – in the five-match series – will get underway at the same venue on Friday.

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