Domestic Cricket
The Curious Case of S Badrinath
1 year, 9 months ago Posted in: Domestic Cricket, International Cricket 16
The Curious Case of S Badrinath

The day Laxman announced his retirement it looked like S Badrinath had got a fresh lease of life. As one would’ve thought, he was fittingly drafted into the Indian Test team for the series against New Zealand. Nobody deserved to be picked for the Indian Test team more than S Badrinath, for he’d been scoring truckloads of runs in the Indian domestic circuit. Having scored nearly 8000 first-class runs at a SR of 60, it was rather unfortunate that he played only 2 Tests and 7 ODI for India.

At times you’re simply born in a wrong era and no matter how much you perform in domestic circuit, you never get picked for the Indian team because the spot that you’re vying for is occupied by the best in the business. Indian cricket has many such stories; the likes of Rajender Goel and Padmakar Shivalkar didn’t get even a single game for India because the world’s finest left-arm spinner—Bishen Bedi was in his prime.

Badrinath, for the best part of his career, was also stuck in that time zone because the Indian middle order was occupied by some of the best the world had ever seen.

Now, the retirements of Dravid and Laxman have opened a couple of slots in the middle order, and hence there was some hope for the likes of Badrinath. While he hadn’t set the world on fire in the limited opportunities he got at the highest level, his fighting half-century against Dale Steyn’s South Africa did show glimpses of his technical prowess. India’s is in search of some experience and solidity at number 6 and Badrinath could’ve been one of the candidates to fulfil that role.

Unfortunately, the door that Badrinath was badgering for the longest time opened only briefly. He wasn’t picked in the XI against New Zealand as Pujara and Raina were given the number 3 and 6 slots respectively. While Pujara has made number 3 his own (at least for the time being), Raina’s poor run in the longer format kept the hopes of other middle-order batsmen alive. Everyone, except Badrinath, who had a remote chance of making it into the Test side, was picked for either India-A or Mumbai-A to play against England in the warm-up. It’s rather cruel to not give Badrinath even an opportunity to fail.

The only silver lining in all this is that he’s still a part of the list of contracted players with the BCCI. While a central contract means that a player is still in the loop, it would be naïve to deny that time is in fact running out for the most prolific domestic performer.

16 Responses

  1. Dilip Mishra says:

    Akash, I have always followed your articles since seeing you in th Indian team during Australian Tour. I like you intelligence in writing. This is again a good point of view on Badri. The other name like him that comes to mind is Amol Mujumdar. Another irony in Indian cricket is, the Indian Cricket never plans for long term still dis-qualifies the players if they are a little older. In Badri’s case, he is around 30 and unlike in Australia or England, chance of an older player making into team is highly unlikely and therefore I do not think he will play much more for Indian teams. The Pujaras, Kohlis, Sharmas, Tiwarys are future in Indian selector’s mind for middle order. Unfortunately, Badri does not fit. Take the curious case of Vinod Kambli, he must be only player in the world to average almost 50 in test and to have only played 17 tests and last one at the age of around 24/25. Strange stories of Indian cricket. Dilip

  2. Srinin says:

    Badri’s case not very different from Mike Hussey’s in recent times. Long wait by a very successful player in domestic cricket circuit. But unlike CA which seems to be less afflicted by regional politics and non-cricketing priorities. There lies the difference between India and Australia’s performance.

  3. Amit Mahajan says:

    I agree to you but only partially sir. I agree that S Badrinath dint get his opportunities, when he should have had got them. but with all due respect to the champion player, i wanna add that the age is not by his side. Why shud we go for a player who can serve the country for the next 3-4 years and overlook players like manoj tiwari, Yuvraj singh and other youngsters

  4. Mohamed Farook a FCC member says:

    wrighting abt one of my fav player badri <3

    lets hope he becomes mike hussey of india

    n thank u for sharing this in our group….

  5. Akash,

    I cant agree with you more on Badri’s case. I have seen badri in club cricket upto the highest level. Hussey has served a good part of 6 – 7 years now in aussie side… Although he his getting older by age, i havent seen him getting older in tempermament and endurance. Same is the case for Badri as well. I think the selectors should give a chance. The likes of Pujara’s, Raina’s, Sharma’s all have years to play. Even if they don’t get one now… they could wait for years to come..!! Modern cricket is not about longevity it’s about form and bringing victories. Nobody care’s what have you done in the past.! The question is how are you going to play the next series…

  6. kiran says:

    Hi Akash,
    you have made very good points in this artical .yes Badri should have been given a chance. WIthout giving any chance droping him from the team is really not a good way. He should get more chances.Rahane is already in the team for backup openers so,Badri should been in the team in place of VIJAY who already got fair chances..

  7. Arpan says:

    Sairaj bahutule is also a good example…But I think one has to grab limited opportunities dat u r provided with unless u r Rohit Sharma of course!!!

  8. Sivaprem says:

    Well, Badri is only 32 now. He has atleast 5 solid years of Test Cricket if given a chance, but having a steely resolve is not seen as a talent to have. I wish he becomes the Mike Hussey of Indian Cricket.

  9. ranjith says:

    hi aakash… its a priviliged feelin to write a comment to your article..i still have thefond memories of your catch of abdur razzak/kamran akmal at forward short leg during the famous sehwag 309 test … coming to this article …. your views echoes the points of many cricket fans ..yeah not misquoting the pujaras,kohlis,tiwarys and others here …badri has to be given a decent run in the ICT if the selectors are not considering him as an option then he should be informed straightforwardly and having him in the list of contracted players and not selecting for any kinda warm up matches ,shows its toil and effect on the person…soon after the retirement of rahul bhai ,the slot should have gone for badri…who at least for the good part of nxt 4-5 years would have if not replaced done justice to his selection…but now ..its dark clouds looming….hope he just wont get fade away like some of the great ranji players like amol mujamdar,kanwaljit singh,pankaj dharmani e.t.c..

  10. Sivaprem says:

    When Badri started off in the IPL, a lot of my friends said he did not suit the short form of the game. But Badri has played a lot of crucial innings at crunch situations and is now a regular in the CSK side. There is nothing wrong in giving a chance. Most importantly he needs to be given a sense of belonging in that middle order whenever he is given a chance. And not say, hey here’s a test match, go score a hundred and you can play the next one.

  11. Vipul says:

    Those supporting Badrinath’s inclusion in the national team have no right to criticize the age-based promotion system and a lack of meritocracy in the Indian government offices.
    I too had been looking forward eagerly to see Badri bat. He turned out to be a stroke-less wonder. I know he has been a faithful servant of his state Ranji team, but let’s find someone new.

  12. Very curious indeed. He could atleast have been given an oppotunity to fail, as you rightly put it. Sometimes in cricket, we just over-complicate single things as in making age too much of a factor. It’s just a number as far as I go and even if a player makes his debut in his early 30′s, he could serve the team atleast for a handy time span of 5-6 years. And this also goes on to show how much of an eye the Board, it’s selectors and the team management, in particular keep an eye on and give weightage to domestic first-class cricket. A very sad state of affairs.

    Badri clearly deserves a slot in the squad if Yuvraj or Raina do so. It’s just the big names that the selectors seem to go by. I don’t want Badri to end up as India’s Brad Hodge, I’d rather see him ending up as India’s Mike Hussey.

  13. overcomplicate **simple** things I meant, in my previous comment. Silly typo :/

  14. Leslie Aloysious says:

    You are again spot on when you assess Badri. Whenever there is an overseas assignment for the India A, they pick Badri. And he has proved his merit whenever he got that opportunity, very recently when they toured Australia too. But selectors continue to allow players who piles runs in subcontinent pitches where ball does not bounce above knee height and then chose them to tour countries like SA, Australia, England etc. The zone-wise selection panel is still killing the system, no respite still. Vengsarkar had shown some vision when he tried to play Ranji matches at neutral venues, but then number of spectators killed it. But then why are the present day wise men not yet able to bring in bouncy or turning tracks in domestic cricket, come on – having this level of experience and wisdom, they should be courageous to show some grit for the country and groom guys who are able to play in any lively pitch in the world and not select people who play only in subcontinent pitches or select players based on emotional sentiments. Rahane, Kohli, Pujara and Badri (mind the order) have proved in bouncy tracks whenever they got the opportunity (stats availabe in cricinfo, dear selectors, if you are reading) unlike big heroes of IPL who are only worth for One day and 20-20 (they want role in test too but they were utter dismal failures in lively pitches when given chances, sorry). As somebody who really follows domestic and tests every piece, I would say let the wise men shows some guts to bring India back on track with some bold decisions and not sentiments, they can do it! Let them dont weigh players equally for One dayers/20-20 and tests. Badri has proved he cannot rotate strike in One days though he has a good pull shot. But he is more technique than Laxman to play in SA or England, bet it – he still has 8 more years in him – beleive me, I’m not from Tamil nadu :)

  15. Shobhit says:

    Hi Aakash
    I believe that Indian cricket is just wasting time with Yuvraj and Raina in the Test team. With due respect to them as cricketers, some people just dont have it to become good Test cricketers. Yuvraj will easily be a Gr8 international ODI player when he hangs his boots but he does not have the solid technique to score quality runs in Test cricket outside Asia. Same is with Raina. Its true that Badri is unlucky to have played in the era of ST, RD, VVS and SG but hes 31 and is super fit!! Like Dravid showed us, with prime fitness a batsman can carry on till 39 years. so that gives Badri good 8 years in International cricket !!! With the amount of Test cricket India plays, it corresponds to approx 70-75 test matches and a batsman of Badri’s class can give us 6000 test runs !! that would be a great help to Indian cricket. especially now that we are without the experience of VVS and Dravid in the middle order.
    The thing is,Yuvraj/Raina will definitely score runs in India against Eng now and Aus next year, but come dec’13 in Africa when he/they fail in test matches, Indian cricket will be pushed back by 18 months atleast!!

  16. Abhijit Manohar says:

    Dear Akash,
    Thanks for the wonderful pieces of work, both on the field and off it with a pen/keyboard!
    You are correct about Badrinath, and hopefully he gets some opportunities. Another recent article I read was about openers for the test matches, and looking back your innings were very decisive in many Indian test results. What very few ppl understand is that what Indian team really needs is someone who can occupy the crease for prolonged time. If runs also come then good, otherwise it instills confidence in the rest of the squad that batting on the given pitch is not so difficult! that is what Cooks innings did for England.
    Reason I raised this point here is that Badri is a player who can do that for the team irrespective of the position he bats in. Which is why I would back him for the test matches.

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