Dubai: Ambati Rayudu, India’s middle order batsman, refused to pay much attention to the talk of heat and humidity affecting his team during the Asia Cup.
“We are used to the heat because we play cricket in Indian summer. We got a good week’s time to get acclimatise to the heat and it shouldn’t be a problem,” he said after a workout session on Saturday.
Rayudu has been a part of the first batch of Indian players, along with the likes of skipper Rohit Sharma and veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who reached here on Thursday. The full Indian team will, however, train from Monday with those from the England series — along with head coach Ravi Shastri — set to join the squad on Sunday night.
The India-Pakistan match on September 19 came up soon and Rayudu said: “We are doing our preparations. We are not thinking Pakistan is here or somebody is here. We are doing only our bit and not looking at anything else.”
Rayudu wants to enjoy his cricket if picked and is not even bothered about the stiff competition in the team to be in the playing XI. “To be very honest, I haven’t thought about it or looked at it as a competition. It is just an opportunity to express myself and don’t want to put more pressure on my game by thinking about these things.”
However, he admitted that it was frustrating not to have toured England. “Obviously it was frustrating to miss out on England tour. But I’m happy that I could come back and give the (yo-yo fitness) test and get picked to play in the Asia Cup.”
Rayudu was quick to admit they would be missing Virat Kohli in the Asia Cup. “It is obviously a big miss. We will definitely miss him. But we still have a good enough team to go out and do well and win matches.”
Rayudu defended the scheduling of his team having to play back to back matches on September 18 against Hong Kong and arch rivals on the next day without a break. “I don’t think it will be a disadvantage. It will be definitely tough and I’m sure we will do the best possible things to recover and go out fresh to play the next game.”
Whom does he think as the favourite? “Every team over here has potential to do well and I don’t think we are looking at one opponent as such. We are looking at ourselves and concentrating on improving our own game.”
Rayudu expressed his gratitude to senior pro Mahendra Singh Dhoni in helping him out. “He has been a captain and always been a go-to-man for everybody in the team. He has helped me a lot in terms of how I recovered this season,” said Rayudu, who has hit two centuries and six half-centuries from in 34 One Day Internationals for an impressive average of 50.23.
With the dangerous left arm pacer Mohammad Amir in the Pakistan team, are the Men in Blue giving special attention to left-arm pacers? “We are preparing in whatever way we can. A new throwdown specialist has joined us and hopefully, we will be prepared to face them in the match.”
To a query on whether the team will be building up for the World Cup through this tournament, Rayudu said: “We are in for Asia Cup and I don’t think anybody is thinking about the World Cup right now.”