IPL 2014 April 30, 2014

A case for S Badrinath?

S Badrinath was not bought by any of the franchises during the 2014 IPL player auction, but judging by how some of teams have fared so far, they could use his skills

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 ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 3, 2014, 14:24 GMT

    S Badrinath is much wanted for SRH as their middle order is considered to be the weakest in this edition of IPL !! Even they have an open purse they did not turn to him neither anyone !! Was shocked to see it live in the auction !! He is much better than many middle order batsmen !! It happens Sometimes !! Just cricket nothing personal !!

  • Anantha on May 2, 2014, 14:20 GMT

    I think what hurt Badri was the way he threw his wicket in the 2013 IPL finals. It was the perfect situation for Badri - two early wickets, moderate target... he could have stayed and built an innings and won the match. If he had done that, then his base price would be justified. But he tried to play an extravagant shot and got out cheaply. He has an ego problem, and this should serve as a good lesson for him. Let us hope he learns and comes back a better player next season.

  • Dummy4 on May 2, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    First of all IPL needs to have a minimum catchment area players.. I would suggest a minimum of 3 catchment area players and 3 maximum international professionals.. This way, we can ensure that no team has an unfair advantage.. As for CSK, it is a perfect example of whatever is wrong with the league.. Many sporting leagues actually have players staying in the city that their clubs are from.. We can see Messi staying in Barcelona or Robben staying in Munich.. They make their homes in the city their club represents.. MSD does not stay in Chennai nor Harbhajan in Mumbai.. How are the fans going to relate to the players if they are not from their city?? But anything sells I guess.. With the catchment area rule, Badri would still be playing along with Ashwin and Vijay for CSK..

  • Naresh on May 2, 2014, 9:20 GMT

    Badri suits test cricket and not T20. The same is the case with Pujara (who could also be good for ODI's) Big hitting six hitters are more suited to T20. We have seen that scores in SC need to be above 160 for a chance of wins. Below makes it a 50-50 contest between teams. In future you would probably see teams spending more on the big hitters who would occupy slots 1-5 in T20.

  • raj on May 1, 2014, 23:13 GMT

    Badri is loved and remembered for being the 'nearly man' of Indian cricket. He deserved an extended run in Tests but did not receive one. But the truth is, had he received an extended run in Tests then most Indian fans would be critical of him and his legend would be diminished. As for the IPL, it is only a money making exercise which more then half the teams capable of winning it! Only reason for T20 popularity is because India won the inaugural WC and that too by beating Pak in the final, in the final over

  • sid on May 1, 2014, 17:50 GMT

    I am surprised Ganesh Satish, with a base price of 10 lakh remained UNSOLD. His current age is 26, much younger than Badrinath. Ganesh has very good batting stats and was a bargain at 10 lakhs, compared to Badrinath. ---- Batting averages for Ganesh Satish: (very much comparable to Badrinath) --------------- Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St First-class 41 68 10 2504 200* 43.17 5506 45.47 6 13 318 12 18 0 List A 35 34 3 1147 121* 37.00 1412 81.23 2 9 117 10 13 0 Twenty20 11 10 2 183 52 22.87 178 102.80 0 1 14 5 3 0

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2014, 14:36 GMT

    Infact when Badrinath din't get buyers on day 1 of the auction he should have rebuild his base price to 20 lacs and that could have triggered demand amongst the teams to get him and fortunately would have been bought for his requested price. Its just his self awareness this time.....welll its a lesson learned from him.

  • Dummy4 on May 1, 2014, 12:00 GMT

    I have stopped following CSK, since they didn't buy badri. Many teams dont have a player of his qualities to bail out the team at difficult times. He used to do that 90% of the times. He deserves to play IPL than that so called T20 sloggers.

  • vas on May 1, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    Badri was the SOS man for CSK. But he is not a big hitter. CSK selected Mac and Faf, both are technically correct batsmen and can hit big shots as well. They can switch gears according to the match situation. Thats is why Badri missed out this time. We haven't seen much of Manhas yet. That is the only spot open to others in CSK set up. Badri would've been useful in teams like SRH and MI.

  • Vikram on May 1, 2014, 0:42 GMT

    As much as Badri would walk into the XI of SRH/MI, Bailey should use Pujara the same way as Badri was used in CSK to improve their chances.

  • No featured comments at the moment.