While there are quite a few in the race to grab the number six spot in India's Test squad, Tamil Nadu's middle-order mainstay Subramaniam Badrinath on Wednesday claimed that he was the best bet for that position.
"I have been waiting in the sidelines. Honestly, there is just one spot left (in the middle-order). To be honest, I do not want to be that one guy who is only in the squad and not playing. I want to play in the eleven and that is my biggest motivation," Badrinath told PTI.
"I have been in the national team for a while but didn't get a chance to play. In the back of my mind I know I haven't really lost. Maybe the spots would open up soon and I feel I am the best guy to do the job," insisted the 31-year-old, who has played two Tests and seven ODIs.
Stating that Michael Hussey, who made his international debut at the age of almost 30, is his "idol", Badrinath said, "I have spoken to him quite a lot regarding this (the age). I am backing my fitness, which has always been my strength.
"I think I have got quite a bit of cricket left in me. And the best part is I have got quite a bit of experience, so once I can make it to the team I would make it count."
Badrinath, who suffered a rotator cuff injury during the Challengers Trophy, is continuing with his rehabilitation and has missed all three of Tamil Nadu's Ranji Trophy matches, but the batsman said he was confident of making a comeback sooner than later.
"I'm making good progress. I have started batting from this week. I am aiming to play the upcoming Ranji match from December 6 (against Bengal). I'll get to know on coming Monday whether I would be able to take the field," revealed Badrinath, who was here to announce the launch 'Nike Cup' Tennis ball cricket tournament to be held in Mumbai and Delhi.
Badrinath is all set to be bestowed with the Madhavrao Scindia Award for being the highest scorer in the Ranji Trophy in the 2010-11 season, when he hit 922 runs at an average of 131.71 in nine matches, including four centuries and three half centuries.
"It was something I wanted to achieve. Last year I went into the season with an aim to do something phenomenal and make a statement with what I do on the field. So I am happy I am able to achieve it and I hope it doesn't go unnoticed."
He, however, admitted that losing out on three Ranji matches this season "is tough to digest".
"But I think I will come back and do whatever I can in the rest of the games. My aim is to make an impact. I have not got a triple century yet in a first-class game and that is what I want to do," said Badrinath.
He, however, stressed that he would not rush his comeback.
"Injuries are a part of a sportsman's life. You have to go through the grind. I don't want to hurry. I just want to make sure I am 100 per cent fit when I make a comeback."
Giving credit to the Indian Premier League (IPL) for shaping up his cricketing career, Badrinath said, "IPL has helped me grow as a cricketer. It has broadened my profile. Earlier, I could play only one format of the game. It (IPL) has made me realise that I can play the way I am playing right now.
"It has bridged the gap between what I was and what I am now. It has helped me evolve as a cricketer."
The Tamil Nadu player though conceded that he was still most comfortable playing the longest version of the game.
"I'm most comfortable playing Test cricket as that is something that has been there in the bottom of my heart and mind since I started playing cricket at the age of 7 or 8. It has always been Test cricket," he concluded.