Coming into the national side on the back of a 1000-run domestic season, Vijay Bharadwaj was supposed to be Indian cricket's next big thing - a cultured middle-order batsman who could bowl testing offspin. His debut series - the LG Cup at Nairobi in 1999-2000 - suggested that there was substance behind the hype, as he took 10 wickets at 12.2 and scored 65 runs without being dismissed. But he was a peripheral presence in the one-dayers and Tests against New Zealand, and a disappointing tour of Australia saw him become yesterday's news. Even as Nairobi disappears in the rear-view mirror, consistent performances at the domestic level repeatedly pitchfork Bharadwaj onto the fringes of selection. He toured with India A to England in 2003, but did not get many chances to show that he can still make it into the national team.