It's been a cherished journey: Badrinath
Chennai, Dec 22: “I hate it when people say it’s bad luck,” says Subramaniam Badrinath about his lack of international success despite being one of the most prolific run-scorers in India’s domestic set-up for over a decade.
The ongoing Ranji Trophy fixture in Chennai between Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, is Badrinath’s 100th first-class game. Despite the selectors’ policy of investing in youth, the 31-year-old Tamil Nadu run-machine believes firmly in his ultimate dream of being a successful Test cricketer.
With hundred first-class games to his credit, Badrinath spoke to bcci.tv about his journey so far and his unfulfilled goals.
How special is this moment?
It is indeed very special. It has taken a decade of hard work. I’ve seen a lot of obstacles, injuries, setbacks, droppings and comebacks. It’s been a journey and I’ve enjoyed every moment if it.
When you look back at your career so far, do you feel satisfied going into your 100th first-class game?
Personally, with my performance, yes, I’m pretty satisfied. But there are a couple of things that I’d like to add to my career. Cementing my spot in the Indian team is obviously my first priority. Also, I want to be part of a Ranji Trophy-winning Tamil Nadu side. These are the long-term goals that I’ve always wanted to achieve and everything I do on the cricket field in every game I play is, and will be, directed towards these two goals.
When you made your first-class debut, did you think you’d play over hundred first-class matches?
Not at all. When I played my first game back in 2000 against Goa in Goa, I was only elated to have achieved my first goal – to represent Tamil Nadu in cricket. I didn’t think I’d go on to play for so long. I thank all the people who made it possible and I also thank god for being so kind to me.
You’ve been around for a decade now. Have many things changed since you started playing the game?
Yes, I think cricket has come leaps and bounds since then. The most significant change has been the advent of Twenty20. It has resulted in positive mindsets and has made players more result-oriented. It has brought in an aggressive intent into the game and I really appreciate it.
The IPL has revealed a different side of you. Has T20 success made an impact on the way you bat in four-day games?
It has transformed me as a player. If you compare the way I batted when I started out with my batting now, there’s a lot of difference. It has given me the belief that even I can play big shots and aggressive cricket and if I can do it in T20s, why not in the longer format?
You have had a few more chances in ODIs than in Tests. Given your consistency over the years, do you feel you could’ve done a little better to hold on to that spot?
To an extent, yes. In the seven ODIs I’ve played so far, at times I came in to bat with not too many overs left; I didn’t bat at all in one game. But I do believe I could’ve done better on the  West Indies tour. However, I don’t want to be too harsh on myself saying that I missed out on a lot.
You have a fantastic conversion rate – 29 centuries and 32 fifties. Have long innings always been your strength?
Yes, since my formative days, batting long has been my strength. I was also brought up that way with my dad and coaches insisting that I bat for long periods. My idols are Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid – guys who love to play long innings. I believe after reaching your half-century, it’s your hunger that pushes you further towards that hundred. You shouldn’t have any regrets after going back in the changing room. Once you form a habit of scoring hundreds, it gets much easier.
What’s your favourite cricketing moment from your among your first-class games?
The fifty that I got against South Africa [in the 2010 Nagpur Test] was a relief. It was my maiden Test innings and I was feeling the pressure. My highest first-class score of 250 against Mumbai in Mumbai during the 2009 Ranji Trophy is another high point. I think it is one of the best innings I’ve played so far.
And the most disappointing moment?
The 2003-‘04 Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai. I was expected to score in that game but got out for a duck in the first innings and we couldn’t get a good team total. Mumbai won the title and I was very upset that I couldn’t contribute to the team’s cause.
Fitness has always been of prime importance for you and it reflects in your fielding. Have you always been enthusiastic in the field?
Yes, definitely. Being a batsman, the only other way you can contribute to the team is through fielding. Also, fielding is something that shows whether you’re a team-man or not. Having been a captain myself, I know that anyone who pays a lot of attention to his fielding is an asset for the captain. It also gives me a lot of joy to know that I’ve saved some crucial runs or taken a great catch.