Ambati Rayudu, all set for political innings, announces IPL retirement

The decision to quit IPL comes on the back of Ambati Rayudu's recent revelation on his plans for a new innings in politics. He is widely expected to join the ruling YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh

Ambati Rayudu, all set for political innings, announces IPL retirement

AHMEDABAD: Former India cricketer and current Chennai Super Kings member Ambati Rayudu on Sunday announced his retirement from the Indian Premier League (IPL), hours before the 2023 edition final in Ahmedabad. The news came on expected lines in the wake of speculation that he would hang up his boots in IPL at the end of this season.

The decision also comes on the back of the recent revelation by the 38-year-old cricketer on his plans for a new innings in politics. He is widely expected to join the ruling YSRCP of YS Jaganmohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh in the hope of contesting the next Assembly elections from his native Ponnur constituency of Guntur district. A few weeks ago, Rayudu met the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister at the latter's camp office in Tadepalli and discussed his plans for the improvement of sports in the state.

Taking to Twitter, Rayudu disclosed to the world that the Sunday night’s IPL 2023 final between the Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium here will be his last IPL game.

The veteran, a dashing middle batsman and a Telugu by birth, wrote on his official Twitter handle @RayuduAmbati, “2 great teams mi nd csk,204 matches,14 seasons,11 playoffs,8 finals,5 trophies.hopefully 6th tonight. It’s been quite a journey.I have decided that tonight’s final is going to be my last game in the Ipl.i truly hav enjoyed playing this great tournament.Thank u all. No u turn,” he signed off his message with happy and folded hands emojis.

The sign-off line certainly came laced with some self-poking wit, in a reference to his flip-flop decisions a few seasons ago on his retirement. But, by affirming in no uncertain terms, Rayudu made it clear this time that he was all set to move on in life.

Rayudu is a veteran of 55 ODIs and 6 T20Is that he played for India. He has three centuries and 10 fifties against his name in the 50-over format.

Despite being rated as one of the great talents at the Under-19 level, Rayudu’s entry into the senior Indian team was delayed in the face of controversies, injuries and his troubles with nepotism and state-level association politics. His own ill-tempered behaviour, both on and off the field, did not help his cause either as he moved from one Ranji team to the other in his long first class career. Having started with the Hyderabad Ranji team, he then shifted to Andhra before hopping over to Baroda and Vidarbha teams. He finally found his mojo and was selected to the Indian national side in the year 2012 but could actually make his debut only in 2013.

Before that, he was also associated with the rebel league, the Indian Cricket League (ICL), which played the catalyst for the emergence of the Indian Premier League under the aegis of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2008.

At the height of the 2019 World Cup in England, Rayudu announced his retirement from international cricket in a huff after being snubbed by the selectors for the marquee ICC event. He however immediately retracted his retirement announcement and said that there was still a lot of cricket left in him. His tweet then about ordering a pair of 3-D glasses, taking an indirect dig at then Chairman of Selectors MSK Prasad for his justification of choosing a ‘three-dimensional’ player Vijay Shankar over Ambati Rayudu, has assumed legendary proportions in the cricketing circles.

In a repeat of the fiasco, Rayudu once again came up with an announcement of his retirement in 2022, largely dejected by a lacklustre performance in IPL throughout that season. He quickly deleted that tweet and continued playing for his franchise CSK in 2023 before calling it quits on Sunday, with the promise that there will be no more U-turns.

In case he makes his debut in politics, he will be keenly watched to see if he would prefer to deal with things with a straight bat, just the way he did on the field, or quickly learn the tricks of the trade to emerge as a canny politician.

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