In 1996 tour of England , a youngster was picked for the tour of England, out of nowhere, which did get a lot of criticism initially. It was just a case of a talent well spotted by Sambaran Banerjee( the East Zone representative in 1996 selection committee) . The simple idea was the player’s usefulness with both bat and ball in English conditions. But , they never thought that he will get a game.He was mocked as “Quota ” cricketer.
Siddhu had a dispute with Azhar and the player was all set to make his debut. More than him, it was Sambaran Banerjee, who was feeling the heat , simply because it was he , who somehow convinced his other colleagues to get the guy into the Indian team. He would have been heavily criticised if the player failed.
But the record books had other ideas and the player I am talking about is Sourav Chandidas Ganguly, who scored a century on his Test debut at Lords.Sambaran Banerjee was the most relieved man on the Earth and proudly claimed his find.
After 18 years , Roger Binny finds himself under the similar situation. Maybe , it was the team decision to pick Stuart Binny, but the onus will surely fall on him ,atleast considering the Indian media and the illogical cricket fans in India , who puts cricketers above cricket.
I am not a Mohinder Amarnath , who will call the selectors as the bunch of idiots. I do respect them and even they know the consequence of a poor performance of the team in an abroad series. The core member of the test team has been given a rest and will depart early , something which the previous selection committee failed to manage.Each and every member of the squad is there, after a well thought process. Personally, this team has fared better than the past ones, atleast by the looks of the pre tour preparation of this series.
India has always struggled in the first half of any foreign tour but improves as the tour goes by. The simple reason is the lack of match practice. The present selection committee definetely paid attention to it , after being criticised after the South African series
The Test team announced for England series is bigger than a usual squad and has ensured that Binny somehow gets into it. Whether he gets a chance or not will depend on Dhoni , but his selection can be a master stroke.
Unlike Ganguly of 1996, Binny is not an unknown name to Indian cricket, not atleast after his exploits in the previous IPL season. Someone who made his first class debut way back in 2003 cannot be called a youngster either. But , his decision of joining ICL surely took him away from the limelight and the journey to the blue jersey got tougher.
Binny has been very consistent for Karnataka , both with the bat and ball and played a key role in their journey to the title this year. There have been many others , but when it comes to medium pacers who can bat ,he is arguably the best.
The only other name which comes to the mind is Rishi Dhawan, the highest wicket taker this season. He is good enough with the ball but with the bat, his stats can be slightly misleading , considering that they came against minnows as Himachal does not play against the big teams
Binny can bowl some tight line and length and can swing the ball. He has bowled with the new ball and has a decent outswing . With the English conditions added to it, he can be more than handy in England where he can play the role of the 4th pacer. With the bat, he is technically good enough to play shots at No.6 or 7, and most importantly , he plays the pull and hook well.
Let’s look at the stats
In the 2013-14 season of First class cricket, he played 8 matches and batted in 10 innings. He scored 443 runs at an average of 49.22 , with 2 centuries and a half century under his belt. These stats are definetely not good enough to get an entry into the Indian side and this is where Binny’s bowling gives him an edge. He picked up 14 wickets at an average of 32.64 . His bowling will suit the English condition,where the likes of Dmitri Mascarenhas and Ronnie Irani were also very successful.
What pleases more than Binny’s runs, is the manner in which they came. He scored them at an strike rate of over 75 and this makes his eligible for No. 7 spot, where more often than not , one has to bat with the tail and score some quick runs.
Hopefully , he gets a better treatment than what he got in the ODIs.
Whether Binny gets a game or not, we , the fans of Indian cricket want to see the team performing better outside the sub-continent and remove the tag of “ Lions at home and Lambs abroad.”
A poor performance may raise questions over the team and the captaincy. I hope that junior cricketers are not made the scape goat and the non-deserving gets kicked out of the team, be it Dhoni himself ,as I personally like Dhoni in blue, hates the one in yellow and is a firm believer that he is not good enough to wear a white one.