It was easy to choose Virat Kohli, says Badrinath

Former India and Chennai Super Kings batsman S. Badrinath recalls the period when he was in the India reckoning alongside superstar Virat Kohli.

S Badrinath

S. Badrinath was a prolific batsman in first-class cricket, amassing over 10,000 runs. However, limited opportunities in the international arena left his dreams unfulfilled.   -  S SIVA SARAVANAN

Former India and Tamil Nadu cricketer S Badrinath has been a prolific batsman in first-class cricket, scoring over 10,000 runs, but limited opportunities in the international arena left his dreams unfulfilled.

The 39-year-old has no regrets. In an Instagram Live session with Sportstar, he recalled the period when the then chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar had picked Virat Kohli over the stylish middle-order batsman.

“It was easy to pick Kohli. Even in 2008, he was very good. In fact, I remember a match we were playing for India A when I was the captain, and he was in the side. Batting at No. 6, he wasn’t getting runs. So I had a word with our coach, Pravin Amre, and we asked him to open. He got 130-odd runs,” said Badrinath.

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That knock helped Kohli break into the big league. Later, Vengsarkar went on record to say that the decision to pick Kohli cost him the job. The move had infuriated the then BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan, who went on replace him with Kris Srikkanth.

With Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid still around, it was tough for Badrinath to earn the elite berth. “Dravid is my idol and my Test debut [against South Africa in 2010] happened because he was injured. Otherwise, it was difficult to get into that side,” he said.


S Badrinath had many a memorable campaign, alongside Mahendra Singh Dhoni, at Chennai Super Kings.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR


In fact, Tendulkar had calmed Badrinath on the eve of his maiden Test. The conversation gifted him a half-century the next day. “I was nervous. So I went up to Sachin paaji for a chat. And he told me, ‘Don’t worry Badri, I am also nervous but you belong here.”’

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Badrinath struck the right chord in the Indian Premier League with Chennai Super Kings under Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He remembers Captain Cool as “still water”.  “You look at his photographs. Even after a huge win or a bad loss, there is no change in his expression.”

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