IPL is often promoted as a platform “where talent meets opportunity”. And over the years since its inception in 2008, the T20 league has consistently proven the tagline. Several of today’s India superstars first made their names in the Indian Premier League before graduating to the next level. Ayush Badoni could be the latest in the list after showing glimpses of his capability on Monday night.
Badoni, the Lucknow Super Giants batter, became the third youngest half-centurion on IPL debut as he made 54 off 41 guiding his team out of a precarious situation against fellow debutants Gujarat Titans at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The fifty was a culmination of the struggles the middle-order batter has had to go through his cricketing journey, his first big break.
Badoni was reportedly shortlisted by the legendary Rahul Dravid among three batters to look out for and asked former India cricketer Atul Wassan to take care of the youngster. On his part, Wassan, a member of Delhi’s Cricket Advisory Committee, did suggest the batter’s name during a selection meeting of the DDCA but it fell on deaf ears.
An unsuccessful selection trial with Mumbai Indians followed before Badoni finally made his professional debut for Delhi at the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy last year. However, the chance to bat came in just one innings and he scored eight in it.
The Delhi cricketer’s father is a documentary filmmaker who resides in North Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh. Badoni’s father would practice with him for hours on a cement pitch. Eventually, he began playing for the famous Sonnet Club of Delhi with the late coach Tarak Sinha guiding him.
On Monday, LSG captain KL Rahul sent Badoni ahead of Krunal Pandya. The youngster took his time before blossoming. He managed 13 runs off his first 22 deliveries. And then became fearless, even smoking Rashid Khan for a six.
At the IPL 2022 mega auction, he was picked by LSG at his base price of Rs 20 lakh and Badoni didn’t forget to thank Gautam Gambhir for backing him.
“I did not get too many chances for Delhi. Gautam bhaiya, backed me a lot. He asked him to play my natural game. He assured me that I will not just get one-odd game but will have sufficient opportunities to prove myself. His advice helped me place my natural game,” Badoni said on Monday.