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Numbers don’t always tell the story of an innings and Subramaniam Badrinath‘s knock against Pune Warriors India at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium on Tuesday is one such incidence. Involved in a 75-run partnership with Suresh Raina, the middle-order bat helped the Chennai Super Kings’ set-up the game against PWI. His 31-ball 34 was vital in laying the foundation for batsmen later to accelerate and set a competitive target for the hosts.
The 32-year old bat who is a reliable player in any line-up has got few opportunities to display his skills with the willow this season. Tuesday was one such day and Badrinath rose to the occasion, holding up one end and running quick singles and two’s, supporting Suresh Raina as they worked to strengthen their position in the points table in quest for a third title.
In a free flowing interview with iplt20.com along the boundary ropes after the thumping victory, Badrinath reflected on the match and spoke about his idol and learning from him.
Excerpts: Good to get an opportunity to bat?
Yes! Getting to bat after three games it felt was good to get some time in the middle, good to get some runs. And it is good that the result went our way as well. Michael Hussey has been getting runs at the top of the order, was there a change of plan after he got out early and CSK lost both the openers early in the innings? What was your role?
We assessed the wicket to be a bit slow and low and it was not easy to play shots so I and Raina decided to stay on for a while and take our time. Even if it was a run a ball it was fine, but not to lose wickets and keep rotating strike and keep going on. We know that with the power hitters behind us we could make up. Keeping wickets was the key and for us.
Did you also want to smash a few balls?
(Smiles) Yes definitely! I just tried. But I was pretty upset that I got out because I and Raina had decided that even when we got some time to just keep it going on. It was difficult for a new batsman to come in and score runs straight away but MS is in tremendous form. He just came in and smashed every ball. I think he is in tremendous touch and his confidence is showing the way he is playing. It all worked out well. Tell us what is it about your captain and hitting sixes off the last ball whether chasing a target or setting one? What is his thought process?
I honestly don’t know what he thinks. I know is he thinks and keeps thing simple. He goes in with a clear mind. He just watches the ball and hits the ball. At the end of the day when you keep it simple that’s when you become a good finisher.
Had the wicket eased later or was it just good batting by MS and Raina later?
I wouldn’t say so but early on the new ball was cutting a bit off the seam but as the game went on it was getting a little slower but I don’t think it got much easier or anything. They were bowling a lot of cross-seams and off-breaks and slow bowling which was actually a little tough to get off the ground. But Dhoni is a power-player and his game, with his bottom hand is to get under the ball. So I think that sort of game really suits this kind of wickets as well.
You have got out in the mid 30s on a few occasions you got to bat so what is it that you would be working on?
Scores of 30s are decent enough in T20s but still I want to get 50s and take the team along with me. I have been wanting to get 50s and see the innings through with my batting. That is what I want to do and I am aiming at. That is why I was not satisfied with my knock. I wanted to keep going on and finish well for the team. But, as has been happening, this season that I have been getting out in the 30s. But I hope the good one comes around the corner soon.
Michael Hussey also plays a lot along the ground and also runs a lot of ones and twos, have you had a chat with him about batting? What have you learnt from him?
I have always had chats with him, pretty long chats. We are similar type of cricketers so it makes more sense to learn from him rather than any other cricketer. The way he approaches the game, and the way finishes games is one of the reasons I am not getting to bat. Spending time with him in the dressing room, every moment I always keep learning from him. Not only this year but over the last five years!
Anything specific that you would like to share?
I think it is more about enjoying your cricket and backing your strengths and playing your own game. I think it is all about innovation, smart thinking and a clear mind. All these things play a crucial part. And even if I don’t play for the country, any cricket I play, Hussey says to enjoy the game and try to do the best whichever team I you play for. He (Hussey) plays every match like it is his last so that is something that I have learnt from him.
Do you also take inspiration from him the way his international career unfolded after a relatively late debut?
Yes, definitely! I take a lot of inspiration from him. He also played late for the country but played really well. He went on to play seven-eight years of international cricket, brilliantly. So I definitely look up to him and I actually idolise him.
PWI too have some very good batters and a team that has very little to lose can be a dangerous. So what were your plans against them?
That is one danger always. The teams that don’t have much to lose they just come and can go berserk but today we just wanted to keep things simple with our bowling but it was like a roller-coaster for the first six overs. It was a little crazy. But I think our fielding was tremendous. Fielding brought us back into the game. Suresh Raina and Albie Morkel effected run outs. Whenever we have looked for breaks our fielding pulled it up and got us the breaks. I think that is a big plus with our side. I don’t think you can find any weak fielder on the ground so that is something we work hard on as well.
How does it feel to be once again comfortably placed at the top of points table and just one or two wins away from a place in the final four?
We have made it to the top-four but we want to be in the top two if not top one. We don’t want to take it easy. We want to keep the momentum going. This tournament is all about the momentum and we want to keep it going. The next thing will be to end up in the top two where you get two shots at getting the final. That would be the aim for us and definitely keeping the momentum going is very important as well.
Outplayed by Chennai Super Kings at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium, the Pune Warriors Indiaare now at the bottom of the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013’s points table. Although they claimed a couple of early wickets after MS Dhoni opted to bat, they could not contain the CSK line-up asSuresh Raina and S Badrinathmilked the attack before MS Dhoni smashed the ball around the park in a late onslaught. While bowling in the death, which continues to be an area of concern, PWI top and middle order succumbed to the visitors. Chasing 165 they fell 37 runs short of the target on Tuesday evening.
Leg-spinner Rahul Sharmawho opened the bowling for the hosts and finished with one for 27 spoke to iplt20.com after the loss and reflected on the game.
Excerpts from the interview:
Would you say that batting is an area of concern?
We have been bowling well, in the last two–three overs, but in the death things are going a bit wrong since the last three-four games. And the batting is not clicking. The wicket was good for batting on Tuesday and we got a decent start but the loss of three-four quick wickets pulled us back.
Did the track change a bit as the game progressed? Was it a bit slow early on?
The wicket was good for batting If you spent some time on it .it was a good wicket to bat on.
What was going through your mind while opening the bowling open and bowling to likes of Michael Hussey?
I always want to give my team a breakthrough whenever I am bowling and that is what I was trying. My mindset is always good. And I enjoy bowling to a good batsman.
What was your plan for Michael Hussey who has been the mainstay of the CSK line-up?
He is in good form and I am also doing well for my team. So the challenge for both us was who will do better for their team. To bowl at the stumps and not give him room to play the cut was a plan because he plays the cut and the sweep shot very well so I had kept two fielders for him if tried to play the sweep shot. So the bowling was well over all.
What was the planning for the hard-hitting CSK batting line-up?
Since we have a good batting wicket the plan was not to give the batsmen too much room because they do have a lot of hard-hitters lower down like MS Dhoni, D Bravo, Albie Morkel. We wanted to restrict them to as less as possible like 140 or 150 but then according to me we gave about 20 runs more.
Would you say that shot selection and run-outs are an area that you need to work on?
In a way getting run out in T20 is a crime and we had a couple of run outs and that did make a difference in this match.
Have you worked on any new variations in your bowling?
I don’t try too many things in T20. My thing is not to give the batsman too much room and that has given me success so that’s what I try to do.
How difficult is it to regroup under these circumstances?
The boys are a good bunch and keep motivating themselves, all are strong. But then I think we are not clicking together. It is a new team and the captain is also new. He is captaining well, making good changes while bowling but the batting order is not getting set and the middle-order is collapsing.
How will the team prepare for against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, another team with a strong line-up?
Their main batter is Chris Gayle who can hit any shot at will regardless of how big the ground is so we are planning for him and I will try to get him out.