January 17, 2002

India gains a better Badani

Staff Reporter

Stylish southpaw Hemang Badani's inclusion into the one-day squad for the upcoming series against England has come as little surprise to followers of the game, especially after his sterling performances in the recently concluded Challenger Trophy.

The Tamil Nadu batsman, who has racked up many runs of late for his state in the Ranji competition, called his break a "blessing in disguise" that had afforded him time to fine-tune his technique and return to the side as a more complete batsman.

"The six-week break helped me to analyse my game and detect the faults," Badani told reporters after a practice session at the Eden Gardens at Kolkata.

Badani, who made his one-day debut against Bangladesh at Dhaka in the 1999/00 Asia Cup, has since impressed many with his temperament and shot selection in the shorter version of the game. His record, as it stands currently, reveals an average of 33.29, with a hundred and three fifties.

"I was playing across the line and was playing shots too early," said Badani. "I was not getting the runs and became more and more desperate. The pressure kept building on me," he told the press.

His technical adjustments were evident in the Ranji contest and, most recently, in the Challenger Trophy, in which he made 170 runs in three matches for the India Seniors side. Along with Virender Sehwag, he proved the mainstay of the batting lineup, although their efforts could not propel their side to a victory in the competition.