S Badrinath, the Tamil Nadu batsman, has been called up to the India squad for the Tests against New Zealand as a replacement for VVS Laxman. Laxman, who was in the 15-man squad for the two-Test series, announced his retirement from international cricket with immediate effect on Saturday.
Badrinath, 31, has played two Tests for India, the last being in early 2010 in the home series against South Africa. He has a Test best of 56 in his three innings. His most recent international appearance was during the limited-overs leg of India's tour of the West Indies last summer.
A consistent performer on the domestic circuit, Badrinath was the highest run-getter in the 2010-11 Ranji Trophy, where he amassed 922 runs at 131.71. However, he had a middling 2011-12 season: he had picked up a shoulder injury during the Challenger Trophy in October last year and, as a result, missed the first three rounds of the Ranji Trophy. When he returned, he scored 292 runs in nine innings.
When Rahul Dravid retired in March, Badrinath's name floated around as a possible replacement for him in the India Test middle-order. But, at that point, a BCCI official had told ESPNcricinfo that the odds were against Badrinath. "Not only is he 30-plus, but he has been tested already," the official said. "He is a good player at domestic level but unfortunately does not seem to fit at the highest level."