He was picked to play against West Indies in 1978-79 but after two Tests he was dropped. He was again brought back the following season for the series against Kim Hughes' Australian team, but again discarded after two Tests. In the 5th test against Australia at Eden Gardens, he played a crucial role in saving India from an imminent defeat. India required 247 to win on the last day and at one point was struggling with 4 wickets down for 123. Four key batsmen - Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Vishwanath and Chauhan were already back in the pavilian when Narasimha Rao provided a match saving partnership with Yashpal Sharma who scored an unbeaten 85. India ended up with a score of 200 for 4 to draw the Test.This was the last Test match played by Narasimha Rao.
As an alert close in fielder, however he did well in picking up eight catches. In first class cricket his record was very impressive - 4124 runs (avg 47.40) and 218 wickets (avg 24.20).