IPL 2017: Samuel Badree's pedigree with the new ball gives RCB a top notch option in powerplays

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s attempt to ambush Mumbai Indians by deploying T20 specialist Samuel Badree on a slow pitch almost succeeded; except that the team’s strong suit, its batting, let it down.

RCB were left ruing what another 15 to 20 runs in the bank might have meant to their challenge.

“Today’s Good Friday. I was hoping it would be a good Friday for me and the team,” said Badree after the match.

The leg spinner, whom the late Martin Crowe once described as the best new ball bowler in T20 cricket, quickly showed why he was such an exceptional talent in this format of the game by snaring a rare hat-trick.

 IPL 2017: Samuel Badrees pedigree with the new ball gives RCB a top notch option in powerplays

Samuel Badree. IPL/SportzPics

“He’s a world class bowler,” said MI’s Mitchell McClenaghan, the second wicket in that hat-trick which included opener Parthiv Patel and skipper Rohit Sharma.

“You look to attack bowlers in powerplay overs. But Badree came along with that hat-trick and straightaway put us on the backfoot. He has been a world class bowler in T20 cricket for quite some time now,” he said while explaining what it meant to be a piece of statistics in a historic hat-trick.

Badree made his first class debut, turning out for Trinidad and Tobaggo way back in 2001-02. Both Sunil Naraine and he benefitted a lot when the West Indies Cricket Board engaged the coaching services of Pakistan’s off spinner Saqlain Mustaq. The latter was known for his doosras and the fact that Narine and Badree also send down a lot of ‘wrong ones’ could probably be traced to Saqlain’s influence on their bowling.

The leg spinner who works as a physical education trainer at a secondary school back home in Trinidad even as he juggles a career as professional T20 cricketer, has strangely played a mere 12 first class games and no Test at all. Incidentally he retired from all forms of cricket, barring T20 of course, in 2012.

Like the other RCB bowler, Tymal Mills, Badree is an acknowledged T20 specialist and this is borne by the actuality that he has played 159 matches in virtually all the T20 leagues of the world: IPL, Big Bash, CPL, PSL, etc.

The West Indies, a powerhouse for fast bowling, were ironically the first to use him as a new ball bowler and have utilized him thus in virtually all the T20Is. However it was during the 2011 World T20 tournament that he really caught the eye. He came across as a rare talent in a format where the norm is for bowlers to be regularly hit out of the park.

Badree, though, has always been a glorious exception. First because he was a leg spinner in T20 cricket, something unheard of in the early days. Of course it is now quite common to see Yuzvendra Chahal, Imran Tahir, Rashid Khan, Adam Zampa, Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla, etc, showcasing their leg spin talents. But in the early days, barring the legendary Shane Warne leg spinners were an unwelcome commodity.

In fact during the inaugural IPL, someone like Anil Kumble, an accomplished leg spinner, was sold for a mere 500,000 dollars while fellow state player, Robin Uthappa, a rookie and just 21 years of age went for nearly twice that amount.

Badree’s shot at T20 fame came even before the advent of IPL. He made a name for himself in the Stanford T20 tournament.

Suddenly West Indies had discovered a rare leg spinner who could operate in powerplay overs and with a new ball. Of course it goes without saying that it would be very difficult to spin a new ball because of the lack of a firm grip on a shinny lacquer-coated ball and the fact that the shinny ball itself would not grip the pitch and turn across.

But very early in his career Badreee had realised that he had to contend with only the 4.25 inches blade width of the cricket bat. He needed to spin the ball just enough to either find the edge or beat that 4.25 inches. Thus his entire bowling strategy revolved around that.

He quickly sorted out rival batsmen. Some required room to extend their arms for the big shots. He bowled wicket to wicket, thus denying them the opportunity to free their arms. For others, with the tendency to push out with their front foot and hit the ball straight and long, he’d bowl slightly shorter and outside the line of the stumps. Their inadequate footwork would hamper them.

All along he’d bowl at a relatively lower trajectory and with the right amount of leg spin, top spin and googly to keep them guessing.

The T20 specialist who has played plenty of cricket with fellow Trinidadian Keiron Pollard said the latter liked to hit the ball straight. “He backs himself when the ball is in his zone. He has the patience to wait for it,” he said, thus giving a glimpse of how he kept him in check during the course of his sensational spell of 4-1-9-4.

Badree’s class, which was seen on the world stage in 2011 itself, proved once again in the World T20 event in India in 2016 how brilliant he could be in this format. That year he was acknowledged as ICC ranking’s number one T20 bowler even as West Indies beat England in the final. Badree picked up 2 for 16 from his four overs but injured his shoulder while fielding.

The injury kept him out of last year’s IPL, thus depriving RCB of a top notch option.

Earlier, Badree was bought by CSK. However, as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravinra Jadeja were their spin bowling options he did not get many opportunities to play. He even played a season for Rajasthan Royals. But it is debut for RCB where he bagged a hat-trick in powerplay that will be long remembered.

Certainly the 36-year-old Badree has taken IPL by storm this year. If pitches continue to be as dry, the 2017 season could well be his swan song.

Updated Date: Apr 15, 2017 13:43:22 IST

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