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Physiotherapist unsung hero of Delhi\'s Ranji Trophy

Physiotherapist unsung hero of Delhi's Ranji Trophy triumph

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali,
New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Delhi should thank their unsung physiotherapist Prathi Badrinath as much as their players for winning the Ranji Trophy last week.

The physiotherapist worked for long hours daily throughout the season, often well past midnight, to keep the players physically fit and mentally relaxed. Badrinath
had to work on some serious injuries to key players Virender Sehwag (groin), Gautam Gambhir (shoulder and groin), Ishant Sharma (shoulder) and the latest pace bowling sensation Pradeep Sangwan (ankle) and ensure that they were match-fit.

"I have enjoyed helping the players because keeping them fit was not only a big challenge but highly satisfying. Winning the Ranji Trophy is a great honour and a matter of pride that I will cherish the rest of my life," Badrinath told IANS.

Now in the third year of his contract with the Delhi and District Cricket Association, Badrinath is happy that his hard work has paid off and Delhi has won the Ranji Trophy after 16 years.

"I am aware that my work will have a worldwide impact, in the sense that if a Sehwag or a Gambhir is fit and play for India they will entertain millions of Indians around the globe," reasoned the soft-spoken man from Hyderabad.

Badrinath's day usually began before the players were out of their beds and ended well past midnight. The routine continued till the final against Uttar Pradesh in Mumbai last week when he worked overtime to ensure that the best XI played at the Wankhede Stadium.

Armed with a bachelor of physiotherapy degree from Manipal, 30-year-old Badrinath is a satisfied man because he was instrumental in making the players recover from serious injuries quickly.

"It really has been hard work combined with precision and that too fighting against time to make the players fit," said Badrinath, who also worked with the Indian football team that won the Nehru Cup last year and also toured Portugal with the side.

"I guess I've proved lucky for the two teams I have been associated with - Hyderabad and Delhi - as the former entered the Ranji semi-finals in 2003-04 and 2004-05 and this season Delhi went on to win the cup," he said.

Badrinath proudly pointed out that he helped injured players get fit well before the time the doctors thought they would.

He said Gambhir, who missed the ongoing Test series in Australia due to tendonitis in his shoulder, would have recovered from the injury had he got one more week's time.

"It's very unfortunate because I believe he fell short by four days to one week to get completely fit. Even before playing the third Test against Pakistan, he was able to throw the ball from the boundary more than 50 times," he said.

"A surgeon had told Gambhir that he needed three weeks to recover, but he was playing and throwing within two weeks, even though I was very cautious in increasing the workload on his shoulder," Badrinath added.

Gambhir also suffered from groin injury and was advised two weeks' rest.

"But again I made him fit in one week and he was able to play the Twenty20 tie against Australia and score a match-winning 68," Badrinath said.

Sehwag had a serious groin problem before the start of the Ranji season in November and he too recovered quickly.

Badrinath's contribution to the game was recognised by his alma mater, the Manipal College of Allied Health and Sciences, when he was honoured with the outstanding alumnus award last year.