There are times in life when we question ourselves as to why we are not chosen to take up the responsibility. Despite putting in all the hard yards, why should somebody else grab the opportunity? Am I worthy enough to desire that position?
These sets of pertinent questions would create a vicious cycle of dedicated practice, sincere commitment and a strong sense of self-belief, which in turn, would amalgamate with the negative side of disappointment due to not being selected, the self-doubt of one's abilities and hope of new revival. This cycle is more often commonly seen in the life of a sportsman.
One such cricketer who painstakingly went through the arduous journey, but always with a positive frame of mind, was Subramaniam Badrinath.
Despite contributing tremendously to the Tamil Nadu team in the Ranji Trophy season after season, he was one of those unlucky cricketers who was constantly being overlooked by the selectors. He donned the Indian jersey in only seven ODIs and two Tests.
The cricketer, who craved an opportunity to be a humble servant of the Indian team, had to settle for the second slot of serving his state team.
The moment of truth that made him realize his true potential and show his prowess with the willow came with the commencement of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The IPL created the perfect platform for Badrinath to leave an indelible mark for the Chennai Super Kings Team (CSK).
Badrinath was the perfect savior and the man for all reasons and seasons
While the initial talk of the IPL was all about glitz, glamor and towering sixes, here was a cricketer who was completely unnerved by the occasion and quietly went about his business.
Primarily slotted to bat at no.4 for CSK, Badrinath's key role in the side was to hold one end up and create a solid platform for the lower-order batsmen to launch their power hits towards the end of the innings.
A player like Badrinath is a must for every T20 side. His role entailed steadying the ship and playing the anchor role. Badrinath gleefully accepted the challenge. Not once, not twice, but for six seasons between 2008 and 2013.
Chennai always deployed him in crisis situations. Whenever the team lost early wickets in the power play overs, it was Badri who came to the rescue, time and again. He may not possess brute force or power-hitting abilities, but his solidity and calmness at the crease would send positive assurances to the CSK dugout.
Badrinath may not have impressive numbers like Virat Kohli or Suresh Raina. He may not be figuring in the match summary on most occasions. He may not have scored more than 400 runs in any IPL season he was part of. But when CSK stumbled with the loss of early wickets, it was Badrinath who weathered the storm and bailed the team out.
Consider the game between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab at Dharamshala in 2010. It was a must-win game for CSK to qualify for the semi-finals. While all the talk of the game was about MS Dhoni's blistering 54-run knock that included two towering sixes off Irfan Pathan, it was Badrinath who laid the foundation with a steady 53 off 36 deliveries.
Badrinath certainly knew a thing or two about how to deal with tough situations. In fact, he is the only cricketer in the history of the IPL to have batted from opening position to number eight. Playing an IPL match is a challenge in itself, but not knowing your batting position and being sent out in the middle in crunch moments is a whole different ball game.
If CSK were tottering at 6/2, Badrinath would come out to bat to calm the nerves. But if they were comfortably positioned at 100/2, then he might not have gotten a chance to bat.
As he embarks on a new journey of providing mind conditioning programs and broadcasting, let us reminisce and remember his wonderful tryst with the Chennai Super Kings.
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