Badrinath up for an unfamiliar experience at Chepauk

S.Badrinath, having played most of his cricket in the city will be leading the Hyderabad team against Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 competition here on Monday.

Badrinath will be facing Tamil Nadu for the first time at Chepauk.   -  V.V Subrahmanyam

When S. Badrinath walks into the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Monday, it will be a rather unfamiliar experience for him in a very familiar territory.

Having played most of his cricket in the city, he will be leading the Hyderabad team against Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 competition here on Monday.

It will also be the first occasion when the 36-year-old Badrinath will be playing against Tamil Nadu at Chepauk. This is a venue with which he has shared an emotional bond from his school days after his father first brought him to the hallowed ground.

“It sure is going to be a strange feeling” said Badrinath speaking to Sportstar here on Sunday. “I have played here almost all my life and taking on Tamil Nadu on this ground is exciting in its own way. It is also a challenge,” the former India batsman said.

For long, he was the heart and soul of the Tamil Nadu batting line-up. Nobody fought harder than Badrinath at the crease.

His cricketing journey, though, has taken him to other States in the later half of his career. But then, whenever Badrinath is here, he is greeted by friends and known faces who are quick to flash a smile and put their arms around his shoulders.

Badrinath said “I will play hard but fair at Chepauk.” His friends in the Tamil Nadu team should expect no favours from their old captain.

This has been rewarding season for Badrinath, who captained Hyderabad to the Ranji Trophy last eight duel this season where the side gave the fancied Mumbai a fright.

Badrinath said, “After so many years, Hyderabad has qualified for the Elite Group, having topped Group ‘C’. I am happy that I am enjoying my cricket, being able to contribute and make a difference.”

Interestingly, Hyderabad coach Bharat Arun is a former Tamil Nadu pace bowling all-rounder. He also coached the side.

There will indeed be a Chennai connection to Hyderabad’s duel against Tamil Nadu at Chepauk.

For Badrinath, the feeling on his return to Chepauk could be surreal.

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