Posted by: nestaquin | February 8, 2010

Subramaniam Badrinath: The Diamond in the Rough

No time to spare so apologies for the brevity. I’m hopeful our Indian friends will pick up the slack in the comments.

Tough day for India although there was one shining light among the shadow, Subramaniam Badrinath. On debut and under severe pressure against quality bowling he batted very responsibly for half the day. Apart from Sehwag no-one else lasted half an hour!

Test cricket reveals character and he showed that he is made of the right stuff.

Considering he is 29 it seems a shame that Yuvraj has been ahead of him these last few years. He’s obviously better suited to Test cricket than the flashy Punjabi.

I suppose India’s batsmen will be held responsible for the state of the match at the end of the third day but really their bowling and fielding was not what you would expect of a team holding the Mace.

I’m probably in the minority but with Tendulkar at the crease and South Africa’s seemingly endless ability to stumble within sight of victory, I don’t think that tourists are over the line just yet. Where there is life there is hope!


  1. I am reposting my last comment on the previous thread here:

    For people in India following cricket only recently, that is, after the Aus era began, this must have been one of the very rare home tests where a visiting bowler ripped the batting order apart.

    I must thank Toots for reminding me about Holding. Those WI blokes used to do this too – Marshall, Holding & Co.

    Steyn would have run through any batting order today, but Dravid and VVS’ absence has come at such a wrong time. But, even after the early dismissals, I had hope in Sehwag.Once he perished to that wide ball from Parnell, I knew Steyn would just tear through the rest.

    I think Zaheer bowled the in and out swingers as well as Steyn, but it is the extra 10 kmph that makes all the difference.

    As a pragmatic Indian fan, I know only a miracle can save us now from an innings defeat. And the momentum will be so huge for SA that India will find it tough to defend themselves against this pace attack in the morning and post-tea sessions at Kolkata. Irrespective of the pitch, if Steyn bowls from the Hooghly end in the evening, there is no chance for India unless Dravid and Laxman come back in to the team :)

    I will be happy if India can extend this match into the final day, which looks unlikely as of now.

    • I read somewhere that this is the first Test since 1996 where either Dravid or Laxman haven’t been in the line-up.

      One day in the not too distant future Sachin will hang up his bat and I think it is then when we will find out just how strong a cricketing nation India really is.

  2. He was mighty good, Nesta , indeed. Considering what he was up against. On that criteria alone he did exceptionally well to stay in as long as he did.

  3. I’m just glad he’s been given an opportunity – he’s been begging for at least an “opportunity to fail”, and lord knows I’ve really really wanted him in the XI for years now. Maybe Yuvraj will finally be euthanised in the Test arena.

    But to echo Kumar above, today was about Dale Steyn. Easily the best fast bowling seen in India since Macko in ’84, and an absolute treat to watch. There is no shame in capitulating to such frighteningly good bowling, and I think only the most one-eyed Indian fan would begrudge this wonderfully gifted and humble man his due as the finest bowler in the world, and a treat to watch.

  4. When South Zone chased down 500+ against England A in the Duleep trophy back in ’03-’04, three men made their mark. The attack they scored these runs against consisted of Simon Jones and Sajid Mahmood among others. Out of those 3, only Badri has made it while India wasted away the other two (Sriram and Venu Rao, who scored a 200+, no less) by bringing them into the wrong format and dumping them. I’ve been routing for those three for a long time now and am glad at least one of them has made it finally….

    This game still has a long way to go and a good day tomorrow is a first start. Let’s wait and watch.

  5. Still expect India to bat out day 4 and the game to end in a South African dominated draw. That is, provided the ball isn’t changed mid innings again. What was that all about? Other than 30 minutes with the replacement ball, only 11 wickets have fallen in 250 overs.

    Also expect SA to be shattered for the second test and get rolled over.

    • I need to smoke whatever you’re on, Garfield man

  6. I haven’t seen any of it, but the scorecard shows that Steyn has delivered a fast man’s masterclass.

    Before the series began, I was opinionating that it would turn on SA’s support for Steyn and it’s noticeable that there isn’t much penetration from the other end – that might not matter in this match, but it surely will in Kolkata.

    Re Badrinath – always good to see a decent pro given his chance and delivering. Can he do a Dravid to Sachin’s VVS tomorrow? Surely a Kolkata 2001 comes round once in a lifetime, not once every decade? Anyway, I’ve more chance of taking 6-73 in the second innings than Harbhajan has of repeating his heroics from the same match.

  7. I had the privilege of watching the post-tea session where Steyn blew away everything.

    A great fast bowling spell is always something special to watch. What made this special was the awesome swing he got. The one that got Sachin earlier was demonic.

    Pace bowlers have been steadily getting quicker over the last decade or so, but those who can make the ball move threateningly at high pace have been few. In fact, I can’t really come up with any names other than Shane Bond and, with the old ball, Shoaib Akhtar.

    And they’ve both pretty much fizzled out.

    It’s good to see it being done again.

  8. I’m indebted to Rob Smyth for this little gem – Dale Steyn has the best average of any paceman in Asia with over 50 Test wickets.;class=1;continent=2;filter=advanced;orderby=bowling_average;qualmin2=50;qualval2=wickets;template=results;type=bowling

    He’s looking down on some pretty handy performers.

  9. Badrinath certainly deserved his chance and he showed why. Steyn was fiery. Not only did he show the Indians his sublime swing bowling capabilities, he also showed Shahid Afridi that biting the ball does not get you reverse swing – ability does.

  10. Who are you going to blame Indian bowling or batting?

    The strategy of playing with just four bowlers on dead pitches only works when all the bowlers are in great form. Harbhajan is not doing any damage for quite some time now. Ishant after that Australian series never looked the same, Zaheer is the the only man standing for India as far as bowling is concerned.

    Usually India gets saved by their batting but this time it didn’t happened.

    And this is not the first time that a fast bowler has ripped Indian batting apart in recent times.

    Steyn’s spell was exceptional.

  11. That was a fabulous wicket from Harris. and here is Badrinath in again, with Tendulkar.

  12. And Smith has everyone crowded around the crease. Badri can hardly swing a cat, much less the bat.

  13. By sheer number of people following him, I suppose no sportsman has ever evoked the range of superstitious behaviour as Tendulkar does. Jesus, the hours and hours of agony I have endured in uncomfortable seats, or trying to knock on a particular piece of wood before the start of every ball, or crossing and uncrossing my fingers a certain number of times every over – all for fear of jinxing one puny man.

  14. Parnell!!

  15. as an aside.. WI 6 for …nope..7 for 144 . A shambolic episode by the WI. Gayle out first ball by Bollinger, Pollard just gone for 32. 30th over, and nowhere to go for the WI. Early finish for this game, I expect.

  16. And the WI batsmen are entering the ground very reluctantly, hangdog and miserable, very token running between wickets for the very few runs they do get.


  17. The match is long lost. But I think Badri, far from flawless, at least showed that he has the stomach fora fight. While the Dravid-T’kar-Laxman trio is fine for the present, Badris need to be persisted with and given a sense of being wanted. Else India is cruising to a void it would have no other way to fill in.

  18. Tendulkar continues his so-far successful quest to put daylight between himself and Ricky – but this particular innings will be in vain, I’m afraid.

    They better start digging up the Eden now – not that India has the spinners to exploit it. It’d be hysterical if they actually created a minefield and capitulated to Paul Harris, though – the man who makes Nicky Boje look like Warne.

  19. oh, 162/4 at lunch, just to update.

  20. RK,

    I don’t subscribe to this theory of doctoring the pitch deliberately.Typically, the Eden Gardens pitches will suit spin from Day 3 onwards and the early morning dew+evening draft from river Hooghly keep the pace men in business. I reckon Dhoni’s best hope will be to win the toss and pray that Gambhir and Sehwag survive the first hour.

    Lets face it – this is a 2-test series and one collapse is what it takes to lose the series. I don’t think the current Indian bowling attack is capable of taking 20 SAF wickets, after losing the toss.

    Badri has played well in one innings but has gone out for soft dismissals both times.He should, and will get a few more chances.

    But, I am far more excited about Cheteshwar Pujara. In response to Nesta’s comment on an earlier thread that we will really know how great a cricketing nation India is, only after the retirement of the big three, here’s what I have to say:

    Inspite of the Steyn massacre in this test, I am very confident about the young batsmen coming up in India.They may not all score 10,000+ runs, but they will ensure a strong lineup for India, once they settle down in their spots. It is the bowling that worries me. VVS made a statement about the lack of spinning bench strength in India. The inability of India’s young pacemen to sustain 140+ speeds is a bigger concern for me.

    Venkatesh Prasad did a reasonable job with the line and length of our bowlers, but in the bargain, they became more like him (medium pace swingers). We have to wait and see if Eric Simons will stay on after this series.

    Harbhajan needs to be dropped too, and if he can stage a comeback, well and good.If not, I will be happy with Ojha and Mishra, and retain Bhajji for ODIs only.

  21. I’m only joking about digging up the Eden, but there are plenty of other, perfectly legit ways to make a pitch spin-friendly, and I’m not against doing that. It’s one of the things home advantage is about.

    Everything else, I couldn’t agree more.

    I concur about the young Indian batsmen too – I think there are plenty of very talented youngsters, and I’m not too worried about the lack of batsmen – I’m sure 2 out of Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Pandey and Rahane will be mainstays of the team by merit in another 2.5 years, and they’ll do well enough.

    And absolutely right about the bowling speeds – I’m more worried about that too. Why they can’t sustain the speeds is beyond me, and this series is perfect example of what speed can impart. Reverse swing, the more effective kind (at least on the subcontinent), is lethal at 140kph, and though Zaheer is as good a practitioner of it as anyone, the speed differential between him and Steyn has had such a huge impact.

    I confess I can’t stand either Bajji or Yuvraj, and their attitude and skillset seem more suited to the shorter versions of the game.

    Just think – only 3 spinners have taken more wickets in Test history than Bajji. Unbelievable. He’s not even in the top 4 of all-time Indian spinners.

  22. Okay, I can stop crossing my fingers and generally indulging in OCD-type behaviour now, Sachin’s gone.

  23. Nice little, insignificant cameo from Bhajji.

    Happy for Saha though. He has played 63 deliveries by now for his 11 runs. He may not get a test again.So, I hope he and the rest of the tail can frustrate SA a bit, and score another 62 runs :)

    • Oddly, I’m not that bummed about this defeat, as:

      a) SAF were clearly the better side, and thoroughly deserve the win – what a performance from Steyn, who’s seems to be a thoroughly easy-going and decent guy to boot.

      b) Nice wake up call for Dhoni’s juggernaut, so maybe India can start concentrating on the cricket and what needs to be done and not get carried away by all this no. 1 hoopla.

      c) Gives India a nice peek into the future, and it’s clear that bowling needs to be addressed ahead of batting. I think Badri etc will do fine.

      On a side note, I have a renewed respect for England now.

  24. England helped stoke up the SA team who had played very little Test cricket (or other cricket) before the First Test in December. With Steyn, it seems clear that SA would have won that First Test and the series, but England took their chance for the win and ground out two draws, only rolling over in the last Test of the series.

    England have a resilience and an ability to seize key moments in Tests that means that they get better results than their talent deserves. This is the mark of a well coached and well led team who will only get better. It’s a shame that we don’t have Aus, Ind or SA this summer as I think Bangla will be rolled easily and then Pak will be a big threat in the T20 and ODIs, but will capitulate in the Tests.

    • Absolutely spot on.

      Would have loved the purported 5 Test Eng-India series to be this year instead of 2011

  25. Agree with Toots. I think the series against Eng was excellent preparation for SA, whereas India relaxed a bit against Bangladesh.Eng has always done reasonably well whilst touring SA.

    But, Steyn would have caused the collapse any way. So, not much can be done about it, I suppose.

    The Indian tail is wagging a bit now.Makes me wonder what would’ve happened if two of the batsmen managed to stay on till the 100th over.

    The lesson that India will learn, I hope, is that preparation matters.

    Wow ! only 8 runs away from avoiding an innings defeat. Take it to Day 5 lads, and make SA earn their win.

  26. And Wriddhiman Saha rides off bravely from the Test stage and into the world of pub trivia.

  27. With only one wicket left I think they play an extra half hour to try and get a result.

    Is anyone keen on putting a few paragraphs together for a post on this match? If so, contact me here.

    If not I’ll probably bore everyone silly with an article on the brilliance of Australia’s 50 over cricket.

    • Well, it is quite brilliant. McKay, Harris, Bollinger, Tait just queueing up to take wickets. This is a very ominous Aussie team preparing to plunge a billion people into mass depression come 2011.

      • I don’t mind Australia winning the 2011 world cup and the one in 2015 as well.
        As long as the B-G trophy stays with India :)

        • Actually, in this particular instance, I have to disagree. Mostly because I’ll be there at the Wankhede in 13.5 months’ time even if I have to sell my family, and it might just be His last game if India reach the final.

          • Will see u there :)

  28. I’ve too much work on right now Nesta, but I hope to comment on either Aus’ 50 over cricket or this tremendous win for SA.

    Just a quick and slightly mischievous point. The one ball I saw was Sachin’s dismissal – if KP had got out on 100 sweeping out of the rough, he’d have been vilified by many. Context, as so often, is all!

    • That’s a very very astute observation, TTT, and a very accurate one. Same applies to Sehwag in the first innings.

      But a lot of the criticism KP has been getting recently has been justified – he’s in wretched form, and needs to realise that you can’t bend every match to your will, not unless your surname is Bradman.

  29. Rajesh, don’t forget Johnson, Nannes, Siddle and Hilfenhaus waiting in the wings.

    That is a LOT of pace.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m still unconvinced about subcontinental teams vs. real speed.

    And bloody dare-you-to-hit-me Hauritz. I hear Bracken’s fit again, too.

    So, yeah.

    • Of course Johnson, Siddle and Hilfy are part of the Test team – I meant that even the second stringers were queueing up to take pfeiffers.

      My whole premise is that the WC is in the subcontinent, so seen from that frame of reference, India looks pretty strong. I think you need someone of extraordinary skill allied to pace, like Mr. Steyn, to be able to coax something out of some subcontinental pitches, the one days versions of which are far deader than the Test ones. I don’t think Australia has anyone approaching Steyn in that department. Having said that, they still look a frighteningly good limited overs side.

      • We don’t stand a chance at the 2011 World Cup with Tendulkar opening the batting and the cancer that is Harbhajan Singh.

        • so was dad not very happy with your class 12th results.

          i am not pro-Bhajji (sachin is different matter all together)… but, to call some one “cancer” is not correct. do we have a better off-spinning option? or can you bowl the doosra as well as he does (when he does is another question)?

          respect is one thing that we as a society lack. too freaking easy to judge people behind the anonymity of internet.

          unfortunate comment for a player that has just one a classic match for his team.


  30. awesome post .. badrinath surely deserved some more chances .. do post your articles on Sportskeeda to gain more readers and interact with the Keedas :)

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