Climbing ladder of success

Personality Stuart Binny

Climbing ladder of success

Stuart Binny is one of those cricketers who perpetually have to live under the big shadows of their more illustrious cricketing fathers. Having a famous dad works both ways – it can be beneficial because you get noticed more easily than other aspiring players but the pressure of attention will be so huge that often it could be crippling.

Stuart, son of former India all-rounder and a present National selector Roger Binny, has experienced both sides of it in his near decade-old first-class career.

Having developed his game in his father’s mould, a medium fast-bowling all-rounder, Binny was fast-tracked into the game as a 19-year-old in 2003, when he made his Ranji debut against Tamil Nadu. There was no doubt about his talent but blame it on his lack of preparedness or the lack of willingness to put in the extra yards after he graduated to the higher level, Binny junior was left out after two unproductive seasons. During his wilderness from the State team, Indian Cricket League happened and he jumped on the wagon.

He did reasonably well in the ‘rebel’ league but it was apparent that his cricket was going nowhere. So, when the BCCI offered an amnesty to ICL players with a cooling period, he accepted the offer to join the ‘mainstream’ and since his return, Binny has grown from strength to strength which has now culminated in the biggest break of his career yet – a place in the India ‘A’ squad for the tour of South Africa.

“I’m very excited to be honest,” said Binny of his selection. “I had been waiting for this moment for the last one month. Thankfully this time, they were going to pick the team after the IPL and given my performance this year, I knew I had a good chance of making it (to the squad),” he remarked.

Not just the IPL-6, where he discharged the role of a finisher with great aplomb, Binny’s performance in other domestic cricket, across all formats, too has been excellent. On his return in 2009-10, when the State made the Ranji final, he got just three matches to play but from there onwards, he has established himself as one of the premier batsmen in the side with more than handy bowling to go. When he was dropped from State team in 2006, he was averaging no more than 19 with his bat but in the last four years, it has jumped up to almost 36. In the last two seasons alone, he has stacked up 1354 runs at an average of 57.26. Add to it the 39 wickets spread over two years, he has become the most valuable player for his State. It wasn’t thus surprising that when R Vinay Kumar was sidelined with an injury, the captaincy mantle went to Binny last season.

In the period between his exit from ICL and his eventual comeback to the State side, Binny began from scratch. He turned up for his club – BUCC – in the KSCA league, worked on his game and more importantly on his fitness. He ensured that when he was picked again for Karnataka, he had all the bases covered.

The time away, Binny revealed, during the cooling period helped him reflect on his game. “When I came back from ICL, the time-off that I got really helped me reinvent myself,” he said. “It helped me understand my game better, especially my batting. I worked on both technical and mental aspects of my game because I needed to change my mindset to play the four-day game,” he pointed out.

His display in the just-concluded IPL for Rajasthan Royals was the clincher though. Handpicked by his State-mate Rahul Dravid, Binny had to wait for three years to get a regular place in the side. “I was coming off a decent Ranji season (2012-13) and the fact that I was made the captain of Karnataka, really boosted my confidence coming into the IPL. I was looking to bat up the order and against Daredevils, I got off with a good knock. It was just the right kind of start I was hoping for and from there I just took off. It also helped that Rahul Bhai knew my game. I am a kind of guy who loves to play positive cricket and he prepared me to play that game. He told me ‘go and express yourself.’ And that’s what I did.”

Binny maintained his father being one of the selectors didn’t put any extra pressure on him. “Not at all... From the beginning I have been carrying this tag of Binny,” he noted. “I am used to it actually, it doesn’t bother me at this stage. Even when he became a selector, I knew so long as I am doing well, no one can point a finger at me,” he reasoned.

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