IPLIPL 2022Opinion

IPL 2022: Is It Way Too Early To Call Ayush Badoni Mr. 360?

Ayush Badoni is batting like a dream in IPL 2022.

IPL debutant Ayush Badoni has turned heads with his brilliant performances in all the four matches so far for Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2022.

He carved out a superb fifty in the first match, against Gujarat Titans, bailing LSG out of early trouble and taking them to a fighting total. In the second, against Chennai Super Kings, he smashed 19 unbeaten runs off 9 balls as LSG completed a record 211-run chase, before he scored 19 off 12 balls versus Sunrisers Hyderabad to give LSG a late flourish; they eventually won the game by just 12 runs.

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Recently, versus Delhi Capitals, Ayush Badoni once again finished off the innings. A chase of 150 that had gotten tricky and went down the wire, Badoni hauled it down with a four and a six to the experienced Shardul Thakur.

Ayush Badoni IPL 2022
Image source: IPL’s Twitter account (screen grab)

What has been the hallmark of his IPL career so far is that the 22-year-old has never looked fazed or perturbed amidst the huge pressure of playing in the IPL. Keeping his composure every time he came in to bat, Badoni has taken the IPL like a duck to the water.

And this is despite him batting in just one Syed Mushtaq Ali game and no first-class of List-A cricket in his career. It is not to forget that the DDCA selectors had been ignoring Badoni for the past three years while he had been impressive in 2018 as an under-19 cricketer. Thankfully, it was Gautam Gambhir and Vijay Dahiya who had spotted his talent and roped him into the Super Giants’ squad and handed him an opportunity straight away.

Another recent trend that’s been going on on social media is that people are terming Ayush Badoni as India’s own AB de Villiers, India’s 360-degree player! Well, this comparison of Badoni with the South African legend was initiated after the LSG skipper KL Rahul himself labelled the youngster as “Baby AB” after the Titans game. Rahul was impressed by Badoni’s power despite being young and thin.

KL Rahul said: “He’s (Badoni) baby AB for us. He has been phenomenal from the first day. For a little boy, he packs a punch and plays 360 degrees, so happy for him as he grabbed the opportunity. It was not ideal for him to walk out with us four down but he did well under pressure and hopefully, he can continue doing that.”

ayush badoni
Image source: Disney+Hotstar (posted on Twitter)

While fans on social media platforms have already come up with videos juxtapositioning Badoni and de Villiers’ batting and their rare 360-degree range shotmaking, LSG’s mentor, Gautam Gambhir, reckoned it is:

“Too early to talk too much about him (Ayush Badoni) because one innings doesn’t make you a superstar.”

If you look at Badoni’s wagon wheels of his first three innings in the IPL – the fourth one had only two shots: a four and a six over cover – he’s got not too many runs in the third man and fine leg region.

He’s been observed as a batter who prefers the leg side. Against the strong Gujarat bowling attack, the right-hander took a toll on the leg side fence, including a stunning slog sweep of Rashid Khan and a jaw-dropping pull six off Lockie Ferguson. In fact, against GT, 45 of his 54 runs came on the on-side; versus CSK in his short stay, 15 of his 19 runs were on the leg side; and vs SRH, 10 of his 19 were on the leg side.

ayush Badani ipl 2022

It was only in his half-century versus GT, that he boundaries behind square, while one six in that region – moving across and smashing over fine leg – against CSK. So Ayush Badoni has made conscious efforts to aim at the fine leg boundary – however, there’s a long way to go for the youngster to be spoken even in the same array as AB de Villiers. It took Suryakumar Yadav a long time in the IPL and a successful start to his international career for him to be referred to as India’s best 360-degree batsman.

So, as Gautam Gambhir said – it’s “too early to talk too much” about Ayush Badoni, especially it’s not fair on the Protea legend and the comparisons will only put extra, and unnecessary, pressure on the youngster.

Jatin Khandelwal

Hi, I am Jatin Khandelwal. Cricket writing came accidentally for me with an undergrad engineering degree. With opportunities first as a freelancer and then full-time, and experience with time, I have grown in the role. The Cricket Lounge is a place where I can thrive with the best of my abilities.

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