Ignored and overlooked, Delhi youngster Ayush Badoni finally found his moment of glory when he made a stunning IPL debut for Lucknow Super Giants with a maiden fifty in Mumbai on Monday.
The 22-year-old, who slammed a 41-ball 54 against Gujarat Titans on Monday, is a product despite the system.
One of the last products of the late iconic cricket coach Tarak Sinha, Badoni had impressed at India Under-19 level, smashing an unbeaten 185 in a youth Test against Sri Lanka in 2018. He also had a good outing at the Asia Cup as he hit 52 off just 28 balls in the final.
But all that didn’t translate into him getting a place in the Delhi team as Badoni was repeatedly ignored by the Delhi selectors for the Ranji Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
He was overlooked in the previous IPL auctions too before being handpicked by former India opener Gautam Gambhir this year.
“I didn’t have any idea, because my name had been coming up (in the auctions) for three years and I was unsold,” Badoni said at the post-match press conference.
“So this time when my name cropped up, my heartbeat was fast. I didn’t know, I had given trials of two, three teams, it had been happening since two-three years, I was not getting picked.
“I am grateful as Lucknow picked me, and now I need to perform and make my team win, I will try my best.”
Badoni played only five T20s in last year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in Mumbai, where he got a chance to bat only once, scoring 8 runs. He is yet to play the coveted Ranji Trophy.
“Yes, there has been little struggle for three years, I did not get a chance from Delhi, because of which I enhanced my game, have tried new shots, learnt new shots and that has helped me in T20s,” he said.
Badoni gave a glimpse of his 360 degree shot-making skills when he slog-swept Rashid Khan’s googly for a six, hooked Lockie Ferguson for a maximum, and shuffled across and sent Hardik Pandya across the fine leg.
“When I got selected for Lucknow, I scored fifty plus in both the practice matches, and that pleased Gautam Bhaiya, and coaches Vijay Sir (Vijay Dahiya) and Andy Flower and so they decided to send me ahead of Krunal Pandya and so I batted ahead of him,” he added.
Badoni acknowledged Gambhir’s role saying the former player backed him.
“Gautam Bhaiya has backed me a lot and he just advised me one thing, to play my natural game and play the ball, not the bowler,” he said.
“So that gave me a lot of confidence. He asked me to play my natural game while saying that the senior players would see the (match) situation, and because of which, I could play freely.”
In the game, Badoni stitched a crucial partnership with senior batter Deepak Hooda, who advised him to take his time to settle down.
“Hooda bhai said you are a natural hitter, and your game is attacking, so take your time and need not rush as a lot of overs are remaining. So, I thought about doing the same thing, to take time and then I will back my instincts,” the right-handed batter signed off.