International cricket is addictive, says S Badrinath, who got initiated into it late, when he was almost 28. And he played only three ODIs and two Tests. Having got a taste of it, however, the middle-order batsman wants more and he knows his ticket could well be a string of good performances in the Indian Premier League.
“It is such a showcase event, primarily because of the quality of those you are playing against and alongside," the 30-year told HT over phone from Chennai.
The Tamil Nadu batsman is certainly pushing his case with his performances for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 4. After two fifties in vain, his unbeaten 63 off 44 balls buried Pune Warriors India in Navi Mumbai.
How difficult was it to master the beast called T20? “It’s a question I have been asked often,” said Badrinath. “I knew I had to work on my game, identify the shots I can play and work around that.
“I can tell you it was not done overnight,” said the man who was for long thought to be suited only for the longer version, though he has always been a vital cog in the Super Kings' batting line-up.
Saturday’s match against the Kolkata Knight Riders will bring Badrinath back to the Eden Gardens where he played his last international match, the second Test against South Africa in February 2010.
“The ground holds some good memories. We came into the match 1-0 down and won it to level the series and become the No. 1 Test team in the world. Personally, I was not very successful, but it was part of a learning curve,” said Badrinath, who scored one in India's only innings.
“You learn more from failures than from success,” added Badrinath. He had years of first-class experience before his India debut, but says: “Nothing prepares you for international cricket apart from international cricket.” The India berth remains a ‘top priority’. And that means all formats. “"I have always felt I can play in all formats and the runs I have scored in IPL and the way I have been hitting the ball have made me more confident.”
The IPL show came on the back of a wonderful first-class season for him (see box).
If a few senior players are unavailable for the West Indies tour starting early next month, the selectors would know at least one dependable middle-order batsman they can call on.
9 matches, 240 runs, 135.59 SR, 50x3
First class season 2010-11
12 matches, 1226 runs, 111.45 Ave, 100x5, 50x5