As the Hyderabad team bus was plying through the traffic on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway on Monday morning during a 40-minute drive from its hotel in Vapi to the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium here, S. Badrinath had been preparing himself mentally to bat at No. 5. However, a warm-up injury to B. Anirudh meant the No. 3 slot had to be filled in by someone and the captain raised his hand.
In a move that Badrinath later termed as “a blessing in disguise”, his team couldn’t have asked for more than a trademark Badrinath century on the opening day of a Ranji Trophy Group C tie. During his entertaining knock of 134, Badrinath scored a run more than his tally combined in eight innings this season prior to the match.
“This knock was needed for me. I have got starts but I haven’t been able to convert it into a big one. I spoke to our coach Bharat Arun and he also said I have been batting well; there’s nothing wrong with my technique as such. Little bit of bad luck also came into play,” Badrinath told Sportstar after leading Hyderabad’s charge on the opening day.
He also made an indirect reference to a few contentious umpiring decisions that went against him during his maiden season with Hyderabad. “I played a couple of bad shots but there were a few other things which were not really in my control. I am really happy with the way I batted today, more than the runs I was happy with the way I was hitting the ball.”
During the course of his 32nd first-class hundred, Badrinath also surged to No. 6 in the list of all-time highest run-getters in the history of the premier domestic tournament. Starting the day at 7,516 runs, he surpassed domestic stalwarts Rashmi Parida (7,516), Shitanshu Kotak (7,607), Pankaj Dharmani (7,621) and Amarjeet Kaypee (7,623).
Ever since moving on from Tamil Nadu at the start of the 2014-15 season, Badrinath has seen a dip in his consistency in scoring hundreds. He admitted that it was due to a variety of factors that he couldn’t get to three figures for almost two years.
“It’s a bit of mental as well as technical issues. Last year, I had a small technical issue; it was nagging me that I was constantly getting out lbw. I think mentally also I wasn’t really up there. As a professional sportsperson, one goes through a lot. For a long time, I had been trying to be there, play for the country, what I can do at the next level, and so on and so forth; so largely for the first time in my career, I didn’t really have anything to look forward to last year,” he said.
“I wasn’t even part of an IPL team. Till then, being a part of an IPL team kept me going. It was a little bit in my mind as well. All these things put together worked in it. The important thing was when I came to Hyderabad, I just thought I will enjoy my cricket, rather than thinking about anything else.I wasn’t to leave all the expectations behind and just enjoy my batting. Really happy that it’s coming through.”
With Badrinath having broken the hoodoo, he has given plenty of reasons to cheer for himself and the team.
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