This has been one of the more absorbing side-stories of Indian Cricket in the last half-decade. Badrinath performs, Badrinath tops the overall runs column in Ranji trophy, Badrinath is selected for the Indian XVI, but Badrinath never gets a chance in the final XI.
Young upstarts come in and pass him by. Young upstarts who had performed well at the domestic scene, who had tracked the same path as Badrinath has. Young upstarts somehow manage a shot at international cricket, fail and are back at the Ranjis, back to the stage where Badrinath still reigns. Some youngsters make it and are doing brilliantly now. Men like Gambhir. Some youngsters do reasonably well, and are waiting for their shot at full-time glory. Men like Vijay.
Badrinath waited for his shot. His chance to fail, as he himself so miserably, pleadingly put it a while back. But that one shot, it never came. He was the Praveen Amre of the 2000s, always in the XVI but never in the XI. And nobody was doubting the potential, mind. Nobody was doubting the ability or the gumption. It was just that either there were others, or that he was just plain unlucky.
It’s not about what the repercussions of his performances will be. However well he does, his career would not glow through time in the statistic-driven world of cricketing greatness. However badly he does, his Ranji deeds would remain special in the statistic-driven world of cricketing greatness. It’s about wanting something very badly, as all of us have had sometimes, and at last having that one shot at glory.
I can imagine Badrinath, early morning in practice, focusing, concentrating, willing himself on for that one shot. I can imagine the devils of the mind. Nobody who has not contemplated failure would define his one chance as ‘a chance to fail’.
If you are a follower of the human drama that is cricket, you would, like me, be rooting for Badrinath today (but hopefully tomorrow). He is the representative of so many of us who have been working, running the extra mile, taking the extra step for that one shot at glory. His shot at glory is right here in front of him.
I wish and hope he gives it his best shot.