|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
When he went unsold at the IPL auction, S Badrinath said it felt like "a blow to my chest". Watching how some of the batting line-ups have performed this season, he might be wondering why everyone passed up someone with the experience of 95 IPL matches, and a pretty decent record.
Badrinath has 11 half-centuries in 67 innings, an average in the 30s, and a strike rate of 118.89, which, while not particularly eye-catching, is better than the IPL strike rates of, to take the names of three other specialist batsmen from India, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey and Manoj Tiwary.
Of those three, Rahane was retained by Rajasthan Royals ahead of the 2014 player auction, while Pandey and Tiwary went for Rs. 1.7 crore and Rs. 2.8 crore respectively. Badrinath's base price was Rs. 1 crore.
Rahane, Pandey and Tiwary are younger than Badrinath, of course, and teams probably see them as being capable of improving their records significantly over the next couple of seasons. Badrinath, meanwhile, has shown signs of waning. Last season, he averaged 17.71, scored his runs at a strike rate of 102.47, and didn't make a single half-century.
Digging deeper, though, it is clear that Badrinath played a very specific role for Chennai Super Kings. He played all 18 of their matches, but batted only eight times. Whenever the Super Kings made good starts, and were, say, 75 for 2 after nine overs, Badrinath wouldn't get to bat. They instead sent MS Dhoni and their other big hitters ahead of him.
When Super Kings lost two early wickets, though, Badrinath would walk in at No. 4 to try and rebuild the innings. He did this three times, with three scores of 34 - against Royal Challengers Bangalore at home and against Pune Warriors, home and away - and two of these innings, despite their sedate pace, contributed to wins.
Still, would you spend so much on a player with such a specific skillset, and a skillset that might not fit so well in another team? Super Kings might well have bid for Badrinath if he had been available at a lower price. They still have room for an experienced troubleshooter, judging by the presence of Mithun Manhas in their line-up, but Manhas only cost them Rs. 30 lakh.
Some other teams, though, might be wishing at this point of the tournament that they had someone like Badrinath in their squad. Tonight's match features two of those teams.
Nearly every match report or analysis that has had anything to do with Sunrisers Hyderabad has contained the word 'top-heavy', and that is bound to happen when the quality of your batting falls away so sharply after a top three of Aaron Finch, Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner.
You can't help but wonder if their batting might look a little stronger if those three big guns are spread more evenly across the top six, and if Badrinath were to bat among them, serving as a sort of bridge before Darren Sammy walks in with four or five overs to go.
Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, have found room in their eleven for both Aditya Tare - on whom they spent Rs. 1.6 crore - and CM Gautam. Surely that's one uncapped Indian wicketkeeper-batsman too many?
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Karthik Krishnaswamy
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article