But the CSK remains in the news despite a dismal season where it fights to avoid the last place. After the Ravindra Jadeja saga, the embers of which did not exactly go out, Ambati Rayudu announced his retirement from IPL only to retract it in about an hour.
“I am happy to announce that this will be my last ipl. I had a wonderful time playing there and being part of 2 great teams for 13 years. I would love to thank Mumbai Indians and csk for a wonderful journey “, he tweeted, and was immediately inundated with congratulatory messages, many of which he acknowledged.
But then came the turning point in the story with Rayudu deleting the tweet and CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan saying “it was an emotional decision and Rayudu was dissuaded from it”.
Interestingly, this is the second time in three years that Rayudu has announced its retirement from all formats and then backtracked at CSK’s insistence. The first time was after his non-inclusion in India’s squad in the 2019 ODI World Cup and the Hyderabad player mocked the selection committee before calling it off.
But CSK management wasted no time in springing into action and ensured he returned to cricket. Rayudu, who has always been a close friend of MS Dhoni, was brought into CSK in the 2018 auction when the franchise was returning from a two-year ban. Until then, he had been part of the Mumbai Indians, winning three titles with them.
But Rayudu became prodigiously successful with CSK in his first year with 602 carries at an average of 43, making him a management darling. Rayudu’s work ethic is highly valued in the franchise and this year ahead of the auction he was one of the team spotters along with bowling coach L Balaji during the tryouts at Chennai.
But the 36-year-old played through the pain and in this IPL made 243 carries at an average of 23.10, well below his best.
The team also failed to qualify for the Playoffs and to add to that the recent controversies over Jadeja’s elevation to captaincy and his subsequent removal.
It’s quite possible that a combination of all these factors pushed Rayudu to a decision, but CSK know they don’t have enough quality in their ranks to replace a player of their experience and quality. The management therefore went back to work and made him go back on his word. It will be interesting to see if Rayudu will play the game against Gujarat Titans or if CSK will try out some new faces so they have something new to look forward to as the reluctant veterans of the upcoming season.
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