Tension prevailed at the Rural Trust Development Stadium in Ananthapur during the course of the last day of the Elite Ranji Trophy match between Andhra and Hyderabad. Ambati Tirupati Rayudu, the dashing middle order batsman was attacked by a stump by rival Hyderabad Captain Arjun Yadav who is also son of former International Cricketer Shivlal Yadav.
According to a source at the ground, Rayudu’s wicket was followed with some sarcastic comments from some Hyderabad Cricketers and in particular skipper Arjun Yadav. Rayudu who felt insulted by those comments immediately told Arjun Yadav straight on his face that he (Arjun Yadav) was in the Hyderabad side only because of his father Shivlal Yadav’s influence and had he not been Shivlal’s son then things would have been something else for Arjun. Arjun Yadav got heated up with these comments from Rayudu and the former took out a stump to attack Rayudu. Rayudu was ready with his bat to defend the attacker. Rayudu has always been the crowd’s darling whether he was playing for Hyderabad or Andhra. The agitated Rayalseema crowd after witnessing the unruly actions in the middle started to hurl stones at the Hyderabad players and it was only after police intervention that the crowd was stopped from doing so! With a heavy police cover, players of both sides were taken off to the Railway Station safely. Never mess up in the faction region of Ananthapur folks!
It is believed that Rayudu had been getting lots of comments from the Hyderabad fielders during his stay at the wicket in his two innings. Rayudu failed in the first innings getting out to 20 when he was stumped by Keeper Ibrahim Khaleel off left arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. Andhra made 231 falling way short of Hyderabad’s 1st innings total of 370. Things changed dramatically in the 2nd innings as the new ball pair of Sahabuddin and Kalyankrishna ran through the Hyderabad side dismissing them for a paltry 80. Sahabuddin picked up 7 wickets. Andhra required just 220 runs to win inspite of giving away a huge first innings lead. A charged up Hyderabad side then fought back hard by removing the first four wickets of Andhra for just 67 runs which included the prized wicket of skipper Venugopal Rao. This is where Rayudu got a partnership going on with Suresh and the attacking Rayudu just punished the bowlers mercilessly. With 5 fours and 1 six, he raced onto a rapid half century and he was finally done in once again by Ojha. And that is when trouble erupted as the two – Arjun and Rayudu got involved in a heated moment. The Hyderabad players and the umpires managed to pull Arjun Yadav away and Rayudu had finally gone back to the pavilion and play resumed for a while before eventually ending into a draw.
Rayudu who at one stage was considered as an upcoming ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ had an indifferent season last year without even crossing a fifty for Hyderabad. This season, Rayudu along with opening bat Tirumalsetti Suman has moved to Andhra after taking a no-objection certificate from the Hyderabad Cricket Association. Rumours spread wide across Hyderabad that the pair had moved out only because of the trouble caused by Arjun Yadav. It is however not clear what exactly the problem was. Those rumours seemed to be true looking at the incidents that took place yesterday.
Things were fine for Hyderabad as long as a veteran in Venkatapathy Raju was leading the side until the Ranji Trophy match against Uttar Pradesh last year. Raju announced his retirement during the course of the match and the Hyderabad players won the game for him with a spirited bowling performance inspite of defending a target of a little over 140. After Raju’s exit, captaincy straight away went to Arjun Yadav inspite of the presence of few deserving senior players. Arjun Yadav who has just managed an average of around 25.00 in first class cricket and a List A average of under 20.00 had made it to the Elite B and the South Zone teams in the Duleep Trophy matches previously and once even played the Challenger Trophy for India B in 2001/02 at Bangalore after just two seasons after making his debut. Lucky bloke is Arjun Yadav certainly! He no doubt has the talent, the Junior Yadav had began his Under 19 Cricket for Hyderabad with a bang scoring hundreds on the trot but his transition into first class cricket has been a major disappointment. In an interview with this website, Shivlal spoke about his son as follows “I would have been happy had Arjun gone little higher in the level he’s playing at the moment now. The way he had shown the promise during his U19 days, he hasn’t met the expectations at this level. Unfortunately he has been having some injuries, like last year he had a severe back injury, he broke his finger and all this was in the middle of the season. So he had his setbacks. Let’s see if he can comeback from them and perform because ultimately if you want to play the higher grade of cricket, you got to attract the selectors through your performances and there’s no other substitute for that.”
Interestingly both Rayudu and Arjun Yadav have played for India at the Under 19 level and both have the chance of making it to the Indian team, their conduct needs to be strictly checked by the BCCI at this stage! The road is pretty smooth for the 23 year old Arjun as his ‘papa’ Shivlal has just been named as the Director of the National Cricket Academy! Rayudu on the other hand has just got to make his bat do the talking and make people believe that comparisons of Rayudu with Sachin Tendulkar are no media hype. The former India U19 Captain of course has to seriously cut down on the amount of shots he plays when he’s new to the crease, he just gotta control his adrenalin and he needs to learn a lot from Viru (Virender Sehwag) who has hit those big hundreds for India at the Test level.