Time for Badri, Yusuf to deliver

Final one-dayer is of massive significance to struggling right-handers

Time for Badri, Yusuf to deliver

Time is fast running out for middle-order batsmen Yusuf Pathan (left) and S Badrinath. AP/AFP

But the fifth one-dayer between India and the West Indies at Kingston on Thursday is one of massive significance for two individuals – S Badrinath and Yusuf Pathan.

The one-day series was touted as a golden opportunity for them to move to the next level and become permanent fixtures in the scheme of things. But after four one-dayers, it’s disappointing to see them standing at the doors to oblivion.

All this West Indies side has is a set of talented but highly inexperienced bowlers at this level, and it was quite natural to expect some fireworks from the Indian duo.
But Badrinath and Pathan have managed just 40 runs at 13.33 and 12 runs at 4.00 respeectively, a big letdown by any standards.

“I want to cement my place in the side. And I want to play for India as long as possible,” Badrinath had said after making a composed 43 to guide India to a win in the one-off T20. That bright start promised a lot from the Tamil Nadu right-hander, but what followed was absolutely disappointing. It wasn’t the case of Badrinath getting a small number of overs to bat as he had walked into bat at prime positions, at times ahead of skipper Suresh Raina and the in-form Rohit Sharma.

Frittering starts

However, Badrinath is yet to vindicate the faith the management has reposed on him, frittering away the starts he has got. He has looked circumspect on this trip as the free-flowing Badrinath, an integral part of Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, was conspicuous by his absence.

The IPL version of Badrinath, in contrast to the international batsman, is a daring player unafraid to pull, hook or upper-cut pacers, and he did that with some panache even against quick bowlers like Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn. But on this tour, except the T20 game, he looked hardly his fluent self, a cluttered mind leading to leaden feet and half-hearted strokeplay.

It might also have to do with him trying that extra hard to impress the think-tank, and thereby putting himself under unnecessary pressure. Whatever the case may be, Badrinath should realise that at 31, he might not get too many opportunities now to materialise his dream of playing long for India, at least in the one-day format.

Pathan’s tale is too one of missed chances, squandering brilliant chances with the ease of a reckless gambler. Despite his justified reputation of being a ferocious hitter, he is not exactly a first choice. A quick recap will tell you that Pathan was picked ahead of Rohit for the World Cup only to be replaced by Raina after a few shoddy efforts.

Now, Rohit has overtaken Pathan comfortably in this series, scoring 200 runs from four matches at a whopping average of 200.

The selectors will now have to consider the Mumbaikar ahead of Pathan for the upcoming series, and once the senior pros return to the side, the Baroda man will have to face far tougher times to break into the playing eleven.

“They have responded to various situations with confidence and us winning the series was a reflection of that.

“This bunch of players has a great chance to leave a legacy behind them,” said Eric Simons, India’s bowling coach.

Pathan and Badrinath will have to act swiftly to be a part of that group.

Teams (from): India: Suresh Raina (capt), Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, Shi­khar Dhawan, Manoj Tiwary, Rohit Sh­arma, S Badrinath, Yusuf Pathan, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Amit Mishra, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Munaf Patel, Wriddhiman Saha, Vinay Kumar.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Carlton Baugh, Anthony Martin, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Adrian Barath, Andre Russell.

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