Badrinath focussed on consistency
It was a dull opening game. It was also strange. Who plays a Twenty20 game at 10am?
The shortest format is about sauntering in with your family and friends to the park in the evening and having some fun. The players as well as the home board didn't wish for such an early start. "We tried our best to tell the broadcaster to push it later but they didn't agree," an official from the West Indies cricket board told ESPNcricinfo. "To play a T20 game at 10am is not ideal but we couldn't do much about it." It yet again proves TV is the boss. No one can afford to mess with its commerce. And in this case it was all about playing at a time that would be suitable to the Indian television audience. "Bahut ajeeb lagta hai 10 baje T20 khelne mey," (it feels strange to play a T20 at 10am) said an Indian cricketer.
The match was played under the constant threat of rain, with a steady drizzle in the early stages. Ironically, there might have been no game if not for the TV broadcasters' keenness for an early start: the rain came down heavily after the match ended, and as a result, the Trinidad & Tobago v Sagicor HPC XI match had to be called off.
In any case, the first match meandered along without much quality. The pitch - damp and slow- too played a big part in dictating the style of play. West Indies shouldn't have let India reach 159 after such a middling start but they did. There wasn't much fun for the crowd. But one man would be least worried about such demands. S Badrinath stitched together another steady, effective innings to prop up India. "It's a nice feeling to be able to contribute to India's win," he said later. "I have been playing a lot of cricket, especially the T20 format, in the last one month or so, and it helped me to keep my game in balance."
The pitch played a touch slow when Badrinath came in and there was scoreboard pressure. Badrinath did what he does best: he worked the angles, rotated the strike and freed his mind and arms near the end of his innings. His story has been well documented. Badrinath's fans reckon he is one of the unluckiest Indian cricketers and that he should have had more chances to represent India. He has put behind him that anger-suffused disappointment and is now focussed on his future. Does he see himself as a senior cricketer in a team of youngsters? "I have played with lot of these guys in domestic cricket and on A tours. I am not seeing myself as a senior or junior. The fact is that I am new to international cricket but I use my experience and back myself. "
Badrinath has a few goals but he didn't want to share it and put more pressure on himself. "I don't want to say what exactly what I want to do. The first thing is that I need to cement a spot in the Indian team. I am just focussed on contributing consistently."
He said he is aware of the need to constantly work on his game and has been seeking the help of coaches in honing his skills to suit all forms of cricket. "I have been working with the coaches. The IPL experience has helped me a great deal. It's been lot of hard work but I enjoy improving my game and want to play for India for as long as possible."
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo