The game taught Vinay Badami to bring up his bestCricket runs in his genes his father B. Sathyaji Rao having been a Test umpire of long-standing. So Vinay Badami's induction into the flannelled game came as no surprise. If an early start meant a campaign well begun, Badami was playing league cricket in Bangalore when he was in the seventh standard. Plenty of runs in school tournaments propelled the wicket-keeper batsman into the Karnataka Under-15 side. He was promoted to the South zone squad in the same age group soon after. He was playing for the State's Under-19 side. Sizeable scores in the pentangular tournaments got him into the Under-22 squad. By then he was a regular for Bangalore University. Selected to the Karnataka B team, he was also included among the Ranji probables. Along the way, he had the honour of rubbing shoulders with some of the big names of Indian cricket. Anil Kumble was his classmate from class eight until they completed engineering. So were Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath and Sujit Somsundar his teammates. He also had the good fortune of playing with golden oldies G.R. Vishwanath and B.S. Chandrashekar a leading Bangalore league side. Having kept wickets for the abovementioned gents, apart from Venkatapathy Raju and Sunil Joshi, the toughest customer was Kumble. The post behind the stumps was indeed a perilous one, a nasty delivery kicking up awkwardly. That left him with a bump on his forehead and stitches to his eyebrow. Of broken fingers, he'd had enough.What good did cricket do him? It taught him to take success and defeat in his stride. Above all, it taught him to bring in his best, especially when the chips were down.
A. JOSEPH ANTONY