Badrinath explains what his new idol Australia's Mike Hussey has taught him

Monday, September 15, 2021

India's Mr Cricket?

Chandresh Narayanan

Hyderabad: Their careers have taken such similar paths that you could be forgiven if you believed that they were separated at birth.
But they are not, they are two consistent run-getters at first-class level who are finally getting their due.

One, Michael Hussey, pounded all State teams in Sheffield Shield at will for a long time before earning a place in the Australian Test and ODI teams, the other S Badrinath has just taken his first step towards a similar goal.

Hussey did not make his debut till he was 30, Badrinath thankfully atleast got a one-day call-up a little earlier when he was still in his late twenties. But the striking similarities in which both these batsmen had to earn their national berths makes for a compelling comparison.

Ask the 'Indian Hussey', Badrinath, and he just smiles at being compared with the gritty Aussie left-hander. ''I am delighted that some see relation with a great cricketer like him (Mike Hussey). It is definitely good for me,'' says the Tamil Nadu captain.

But the comparison does not end there, as Badri reveals he shares more than just a close resemblance with Hussey. Infact the duo got close when Hussey turned out for Chennai Super Kings in the first season of Indian Premier League (IPL). Badri got a chance to play alongside Hussey and Matthew Hayden.

That's when Badri realised that he had more one thing common with Hussey. ''Basically both of us are similiar type of players. From the way we play our cricket to the way we approach the game, it is just the same mindset,'' Badri told

The Aussie took to Badri so much that he even sent across his book ''Mr Cricket: Driven to Succeed'' for the Tamil Nadu player to read. ''I have been reading his book and I find a lot of similarities,'' gushes Badrinath.

The duo spent a lot of time during the IPL and since then have been exchanging notes. Badrinath is going through a phase in his career when runs in domestic cricket are not yielding him a permanent India place. So the discussions with Hussey on how to keep himself going.

''Whenever I have found time I tried and spoke with him. I tried to learn a lot about his mindset even when he was not playing for Australia. How he kept himself motivated and what things he was working on. He is tremendously hard working, mentally tough. He has so many good qualities that I can keep learning,'' added Badrinath.

Of all things that Hussey told Badri, the Indian ODI batsman remembers one advice very vividly. ''The most important thing he told me and that's what I have been doing as I later on found out is to enjoy the fame. He said just whatever cricket you play just enjoy yourself. If you do that, you will start to try and do well everytime you play. Even if I am not playing for the country, I want to play well for the State, Club, Zone or India A everything will help in the end result. I have been focussing on doing just the same,'' recalled the India A captain.

One big advantage, says Badrinath of his interaction with Hussey has been the change in his approach to the game. ''I have learnt to be more menthodical and systematic. I write things a bit more. Overall my preparation towards a game has become very systematic. I lay lot of importance in preparation, because that is the key. Everything else is beyond your control. You cannot control how many runs you get or wickets you pick or catches you take. What's in your hand is the preparation.''