Ending the suspense, former India cricketer Ambati Rayudu joined the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) on Thursday.
YSRCP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy welcomed him into the party at the Camp Office here in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister K. Narayana Swamy and MP P. Mithun Reddy.
It was in April this year that the stylish middle-order batsman, who played 55 ODIs and six T20 internationals for India between 2013 and 2019, had decided to enter politics, saying he wants to serve the people.
However, Rayudu was keeping the political parties in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana guessing as to which outfit he would join.
He had a couple of meetings with Jagan Reddy in May-June, but remained tight-lipped about his political move.
The cricketer, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, finally ended the suspense by joining the YSRCP on Thursday.
Rayudu may contest the Andhra Pradesh Assembly polls or the Lok Sabha elections slated to be held in April-May next year.
Rayudu joined a rare bandwagon of Indian cricketers who have entered politics, including Tiger Pataudi, Kirti Azad, Mohammed Azharuddin, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Chetan Chauhan and Gautam Gambhir, among others.
Rayudu’s disputes with a fellow teammate and the nepotism-rife management during his young days had earned him the tag of a ‘rebel’, and denied him further international opportunities, including the 2019 ODI World cup.
He also appeared in 190 matches for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Rayudu was one of the rebel players who latched on to the opportunity to play for the now-scrapped Indian Cricket League (ICL), before accepting a domestic amnesty offer from the BCCI and entered the IPL.
Rayudu announced his retirement from the IPL in May this year after CSK won the title.
He, along with Rupa Gurunath, daughter of CSK owner N. Srinivasan, had met Jagan Mohan Reddy in June and had shown him the trophy CSK won in 2023.