India Blue v India Red, Duleep Trophy final, 3rd day, Greater Noida September 12, 2016

Scratchy knock sums up Binny's recent fortunes

Trying to restore his reputation after being dismantled by Evin Lewis in Lauderhill, Stuart Binny was in pursuit of a century but, perhaps symbolically, fell just short

File photo: Stuart Binny dug in hard with the bat on day three to chip away at India Blue's massive first innings total © Getty Images

For a few hours on Monday, Stuart Binny was trending on Twitter for the first time in weeks; since Lauderhill to be precise, where his 32-run over spawned memes that swiftly descended from harmless ribbing to crass personal attack.

On Monday, before he went out to bat in the Duleep Trophy final, India's selectors had deemed Binny surplus to the team's requirements for the New Zealand Tests. The Twitterati found fresh ammo; parody-page admins and meme-makers were talking shop again.

It's difficult to pinpoint when Binny was inducted into such a love-to-hate social media club that already includes alter egos of Ishant Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Ashish Nehra, but this is what we know: Binny had spent all but three days of cricket in the Caribbean plying beverages to his team-mates, and now he isn't even entrusted with that responsibility. While reputations often remain intact - or even enhanced, in some cases - when you remain on the bench, Binny's was smashed, literally, by Evin Lewis in that over in Florida in the only international he played on the tour.

In Greater Noida, Binny walked in with India Red on 67 for 4, trailing India Blue's first-innings score by over 600 runs. He looked as trim and sharp as he has been all year, possibly secure in the knowledge that he wouldn't be trolled for his fitness anymore.

The first ball Binny faced would have been an eminently watchable gag had his reaction been captured on a tight close-up: he strode forward to a length delivery which whooshed past him and towards the wicketkeeper's throat. The previous one had stopped on Gurkeerat Singh and kept low, as he nearly played it on to the stumps.

India Blue captain Gautam Gambhir had engaged a pace-spin combination. Binny's default response was to stride forward and present bat and pad in a parallel line and then hope for the best. The edge was found, often, but he wouldn't be dismissed. Binny had ambled to 9 off 35 balls when Gambhir traded the pace-spin gambit with an-all spin attack - Ravindra Jadeja, Parvez Rasool and Karn Sharma shared the bowling duties for the next 46 overs.

It didn't immediately mitigate Binny's struggle, but he received a handy let off in the 37th over when Karn struck him plumb in front but the lbw appeal was turned down. After working out that he was handling spin about as convincingly as a clown would a ballet recital, Binny cheated his way out of trouble by charging out of the crease. Often, the exercise would result in a meek bunt or a nick that would slither away harmlessly. Binny was giving the feline community a severe complex, as India Blue's bowlers and fielders yelled and yelped for several lbws and near-catches that never materialised.

Feeding off a relatively more assured Gurkeerat, Binny changed his plans. He tried the sweep for starters, then graduated to launching his own variant of the helicopter shot. One whippety thunk off Rasool sailed over the long-on boundary to bring up his fifty. Some inside-out biffs and a few sheepish smiles exchanged with bowlers grudging their luck indicated he was having fun, but he would nearly ruin the theatre with atrocious brain-fades. Binny's failed attempts at the switch hit only served to scare the close-in fielders.

He had spoken of how India coach Anil Kumble had sowed ambitions of a Test century in him, but watching him run up a sequence of ugly hoicks and indiscreet prods made you wonder if he wanted one badly enough - he hasn't made a hundred in first-class cricket for more than two years.

In the end, ironically enough, he was trapped lbw, playing a defensive stroke on 98. For more than 10 seconds, he stood cross-legged at the crease with head bowed in a mixture of self-recrimination and disappointment, before slowly walking away. Even the trolls wouldn't have minded a happy ending.

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo. @scarletrun

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AayushVarma18 on September 14, 2016, 10:40 GMT

    Binny isn't great, but he isn't that bad either. I think he should be treated as a utility player by India at least in ODIs, opening the bowling with him won't be a bad idea, cause it gives more flexibility too juggle around other bowlers. Moreover, he can hit the odd ball.

  • DHARMAREDDY on September 13, 2016, 18:23 GMT

    Why Binny innings only highlighted here , there are good knocks in this test itself but no one highlighted about others pujara 256 jackson 143, agrwal's 50+in both the innings, gambhir consistency, gurukeerat amit-miishra, and kuldeep also played well in batting. just think he is referenced candidate.because of his reference only he is selected. selectors please give chances to talanted young india. check his statistics also tells he is referenced player

  • cricfan40132954 on September 13, 2016, 14:29 GMT

    Venugopal joind the bunch of wags in twitter to take more jabs at Binny He conveniently forgets Binnys 12 fours and four sixes Binny did his job while the other barting stalwarts didnt

  • Junaid.Iqbal on September 13, 2016, 9:02 GMT

    I don't think Binny is a good test player but he can be effective in ODIs

  • CricketItihas on September 13, 2016, 6:51 GMT

    Binny's 98 cannot be rated very high as most of the runs were scored against Karn and Rasool the weaker bowlers in this Duleep Trophy.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on September 13, 2016, 6:17 GMT

    Its hard to understand why anyone would believe that Stuart Binny is a test standard all-rounder when its obvious that he's at best a bits and pieces player suited to limited overs cricket

  • SamRoy on September 13, 2016, 4:28 GMT

    Kuldeep Yadav played spin a lot better than Binny. And Kuldeep played spin the same way using sweeps and reverse sweeps. That tells you a lot about Binny's batting potential. A rookie bowler batting better than him. Binny was outrageously lucky to play 5 tests for India. Thankfully India did not lose any games because of him. @Sandy_Bangalore "He is easily among the top 5 allrounders in world cricket when on form" That was the awesome. You deserve an Ignobel or a Razzie for that.

  • Muhtasim-us on September 13, 2016, 4:06 GMT

    I watched the t20 in Florida. I feel for the guy but he was brought in on a whim that we need a seam bowling all rounder. He can be useful in swinging and seaming surfaces as he displayed aptly taking 6 for against Bangladesh. But on most decent surfaces his bowling is toothless and his batting superfluous. A specialist is far more suitable for the test side at home. Abroad he might get a chance but in India we dont need him.

  • sandy_bangalore on September 13, 2016, 0:27 GMT

    Binny deserves a longer run in test and odi cricket. Don't forget that he saved a test in england with his batting in 2014. And his seam up bowling and brilliant fielding make him an asset in any form. He is easily among the top 5 allrounders in world cricket when on form, and deserves to be an automatic pick in all 3 forms

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