Stuart Binny retires from all formats of cricket

Stuart Binny announces retirement from first class and International cricket

The all-rounder was a crucial cog of Karnataka's 'double-treble' team

Cricketer Stuart Binny. Credit: Facebook Photo/@stuartbinnyofficial

Now that the final sentence to his playing career is written, Stuart Binny’s story reads like a homage to an old-school love with a new-age touch. 

In a career built on an unfair public narrative of favouritism, Stuart stretched beyond the shadows of his father Roger’s World Cup-winning euphoria before calling it quits on Monday morning, typically workmanlike of the India all-rounder.

Also perhaps why he has chosen to coach hereafter.

“Things have been up and down over the last year or so, so I didn’t see the point of hanging around and waiting for things to happen,” the 37-year-old former Karnataka cricketer told DH.

“It was a very tough decision because I know I have enough cricket left in me but it’s not easy to motivate yourself and train when you don’t know when your next tournament is.”

The 37-year-old represented India in 6 Tests, 14 ODIs and three T20Is and holds the record for best bowling figures by an Indian bowler of 6 wickets for 4 runs against Bangladesh in 2014.

At the domestic level - between Karnataka and Nagaland, he played 95 first-class games, scored 4,796 runs at an average of 34.25 apart from picking up 148 wickets.

He was an integral part of Karnataka’s double-treble seasons by playing low in the batting line-up while being more than handy with the ball, especially in conditions favouring movement.

He wasn’t the best cricketer in the team, but when Stuart did turn it up, he could take the game away from the opposition in a few overs or a short spell. He was the poster child of the utility cricketer.

The junior Binny's career is one of the most remarkable comebacks in Indian cricket. He was all but lost to Indian cricket when, after going out of contention for a place in the state side, he joined the 'rebel' India Cricket League that invited BCCI's wrath and ban. After plying his trade for two years, he returned to the official fold following an amnesty extended by the BCCI. 

He not only remained a crucial member of the state side for almost a decade after that but also went on to play for the country besides briefly captaining Karnataka. 

“I do feel at times that I could have gotten more opportunities, especially abroad,” he confides. “Opportunities were a bit strange in the way they came about and the reasons for not getting them, but I made the most of what was given to me.”

Post-retirement deliberations aside, Stuart is ready for the next chapter. He is a Level 2 coach with the National Cricket Academy already and is working towards the third certification. He could even bag a stint with Rajasthan Royals, his former Indian Premier League employer. 

“I have made a few comebacks for Karnataka and India, and I think that’s one of my biggest strengths. I know what it takes to make it, and I want to share that with the next generation,” he says.

“What helped me was that I was not playing for a place in the team, any team. I had fun playing cricket. Set small goals and be yourself.”

He continues: “This is a mistake coaches used to make in my time, they forced athletes to conform. We now know it doesn’t work and I hope to support the next generation in that way.” 

Somewhere along the way, Stuart pressed on the need for new cricketers to remain old-school and humble in the face of a confusing and complex life as an athlete.

So typically Bengalurean, so typically Stuart.

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