I'm a changed cricketer, says Binny

Cricket Interview

When enrolled himself in the ‘rebel’ Indian Cricket League a couple of years ago, the all-rounder, one thought, was lost to Karnataka cricket for ever. At first glance, it didn’t appear to matter too much because the 25-year-old had done precious little in the opportunities given, and looked out of contention for a place in the State squad. Even as he was coping with extended failures, a surgery to his bowling shoulder forced him into cold storage for over a year. That’s when ICL happened.

While the rest of the traditional cricketing bastions in the country lost many a talented player to TV czar Subhash Chandra’s league, Binny was the lone active Karnataka player to shift allegiance.

“I don’t regret (moving to ICL), to be honest,” says Binny, now back in the official fold after accepting the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s amnesty. “If at all, I am only wiser and more mature now than when I joined the ICL.”

Son of former India all-rounder Roger, Stuart marked his return to Karnataka cricket with a stroke-filled unbeaten century in a Safi Darashah Trophy match, State cricket’s season opener, earlier this week.

“I must say I was a bit shocked when I came to know I was named in one of the squads (City XI) for the tournament,” the younger Binny admits. “I had played just five KSCA league games since my return and it was a pleasant surprise for me. But yes, it’s a good feeling to be back. It’s like a homecoming, if I may say so. I am just so happy to be playing for my club (Swastic Union Cricket Club), to be playing with my friends I grew up with…”

That century on his comeback must have done his confidence a world of good? “Oh yes, it has. It’s always nice to be going out there in the middle and doing well. In the last two years, I had been playing only Twenty20 cricket and it was a good feeling to be part of a three-day match. I was definitely missing the longer version. In fact, that was one major problem with ICL. There weren’t any three-day or four-day matches. And that meant not much cricket, which was a bit frustrating as a player,” he points out.

 The ICL experience, however, is invaluable for Binny. “Today, I can say I am a changed cricketer. It was a great learning experience. There were so many international stars like Justin Kemp, Chris Harris, Abdul Razzaq to name a few in our side. I picked up a lot from them. I found out that there is a vast difference between how we (domestic cricketers) approach the game and they do.

 “I think it was for a reason that I joined ICL. I had shoulder surgery and I hadn’t played cricket for a long time. I was missing the action.

At that point of time, ICL appeared to be the only viable option for me. Before ICL, I was a nobody in the sense that not many knew about me. But after ICL, people know about me,” elaborates Binny, who did an excellent job for Hyderabad Heroes, especially with the bat.

 While his talent as an all-rounder has never been in doubt, his performances -- a modest 513 runs and 10 wickets from 18 first-class matches -- fail to reflect his potential,
 “I just think I wasn’t mature enough to handle things then. I was more of an instinctive cricketer than a thinking one. I have got my second chance now and I am determined to make the most it. Right now, I am just thinking of playing in the Safi Darashah, KSCA invitational tourney and Buchi Babu and after that hopefully I will make the cut for the Ranji squad,” he states.

And what about his bowling? “I have been bowling, but after the surgery, I have been very cautious.

It will take a while before I start bowling at my best again,” he adds. If Binny indeed manages to turn a new leaf over, Karnataka cricket will only be richer for it.

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