Kingston, Jamaica: It's easy to like Yusuf Pathan. It's easy to grow to like Badrinath. Yusuf can thrill you with his big hits; he appeals with his primal spirit and gives you instant gratification. Badrinath, with his years of hard toil in domestic cricket, can make you sympathetic to his cause. However, both are guilty of throwing away the great opportunity presented to them in the ongoing ODI series in the West Indies. Especially Badrinath, who is yet to prove that he belongs on the international stage.
It wasn't that long ago when Dale Steyn made Badrinath look out of his depth in a Test in India. Here, in the West Indies, Andre Russell, nowhere close to Steyn in class or pace, made Badrinath hop and jump awkwardly on a docile pitch. Badrinath is not a very wristy player; his strokeplay is all arms. Under pressure, those hands start gripping the bat tighter, the arms start stabbing, and the ball doesn't seem to move off the turf. It looks like a struggle, it feels like a struggle and perhaps, it is a struggle.
He arrived here on the back of a very good domestic season and an impressive showing in the IPL. This series was supposed to be his carpe diem opportunity. Instead, it's turning into a nightmare. He was given a chance to bat at No. 4, ahead of both Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma - except in the rain-shortened second ODI - but has averaged just 13.33 in four games so far with a high score of 17. His critics are having a field day: 'oh he is just a domestic batsman and is a misfit. He can't rotate the strike if the bowling is accurate and he will eventually be eaten up by the pressure,' is their line of thought.