| Badani being looked at as Mongia’s replacement
Calcutta: With all the attention last Saturday being on Team India’s XIV for the Ahmedabad Test, Hemang Badani’s statement-making 127 (against New Zealand) in Rajkot got eclipsed.
Had circumstances been different, Badani’s century for India A wouldn’t have gone ‘unnoticed’. After all, the left-hander suffered a fracture (struck by Darryl Tuffey) on three, but declined to retire hurt.
“Yes, I did want to prove a point as negative comments were doing the rounds… In fact, some had even questioned my ability to handle pressure… Had argued I wasn’t tough enough… So, I intentionally didn’t take the easy way out… It’s purely incidental that I got a century,” Badani told The Telegraph.
Speaking from his Chennai residence, on Wednesday afternoon, he added: “I wouldn’t say the injury has come at the wrong time because, really, I believe in destiny… I was destined to suffer a fracture, equally, I was destined to get that century…”
Badani, however, will be fit for the potentially high-voltage tri-series beginning October 23. Just as well, for he is very much in the national selectors’ minds — possibly as Dinesh Mongia’s replacement.
“I’ve been consulting two doctors associated with the TNCA and both feel I can resume nets from October 16/17… Accordingly, I’ll be available for the tournament,” Badani, who has fractured the ulnar bone (above the right wrist), informed.
Syed Kirmani and Co. are expected to name the squad for the first three tri-series matches around October 18.
Badani, who turns 27 next month, hasn’t played for Team India after the Mumbai ODI versus England (February 2002). That was his 29th such appearance. The last of his four Tests, by the way, was back in August 2001 (Colombo, against Sri Lanka).
Significantly, irrespective of what the others may have said, captain Sourav Ganguly and coach John Wright have always had a high opinion of Badani. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the most of opportunities in Sri Lanka and was under pressure in the fixtures versus England.
Today, though, Badani isn’t despondent: “I did well for Tamil Nadu last season… Then, in the summer, I was among the runs in England (for India A) and scored consistently in the (2003-2004) season launching Challenger… Besides, last week, I got that century in Rajkot… Hopefully, I’ve done enough to…”
[With two centuries, he averaged 61.00 in England and had scores of 73 and 61 not out (for India Senior) in the Challenger.]
In much the same breath, however, Badani continued: “The past year-and-half has been rough… Wasn’t at all a good time… I expect things to look up once I’m through with this injury…”
The ball is in the national selectors’ court.