Binny raring for more international exposure
Amid the changes that were made in the India squads that were announced today, Karnataka allrounder Stuart Binny not only retained his place in the ODI squad for the Asia Cup but was also picked for the World T20.
Binny was in the ODI squad that toured New Zealand, which meant he had to miss the Ranji Trophy knockouts. His international debut came in the fourth ODI in Hamilton, but it wasn't quite a dream debut as he didn't get to bat and bowled one over for eight runs. It would have been unfair for the selectors to drop him without getting a proper chance to evaluate him on the international stage.
"Yes, I would have loved to get a chance to bat in that game but the situation demanded a partnership at that time which we stitched so I wouldn't say I was disappointed," Binny said. "Also, that one over was what was needed at that time from the captain's point of view. Sometimes it happens in cricket [that] as soon as you get the chance you need to go and perform. I didn't get a good chance to bat or bowl but I wasn't disappointed. You always want to come back and score runs, it's always good to score runs so that you are on the selectors' mind and keep the consistency going."
Binny has been a consistent performer over the last few domestic seasons. In the six Ranji matches he played this season, he scored 321 runs at an average of 40.12 and a strike-rate of 78.10, and collected 11 wickets at 37.18. The season that shot him to serious contention was 2011-12. Karnataka did not go beyond the quarter-finals that season, but in eight matches, Binny struck three hundreds and as many fifties, making a total of 742 at an average of 67.45. And that wasn't all; he also took 20 wickets at 20.10.
"What I really take confidence from is my season two years ago from the Ranji Trophy [in] which I had 750-odd runs and then carried it into the IPL," Binny said. "The IPL has also given me a lot of confidence knowing that I could perform on the big stage when you play against international players, in big crowds and pressure games. Where I bat I tend to finish games, that's my role with Rajasthan Royals. So once that started happening for me I realised I could go on and do greater things."
He also credited the ICL, in which he played for Hyderabad Heroes and rubbed shoulders with international cricketers for the first time, at the age of 23. He would have liked to play for India at a younger age but said he doesn't think his selection came too late.
"ICL was something that transformed me," Binny said. "It gave me confidence to play on a platform to do well, play with international players. It's been a good journey, it's a been an experience for me. I learnt a lot through the three-four years coming back from the ICL. I worked hard on my fitness to do well.
"I wouldn't say it's [selection for national squad] pretty late. I think I've peaked at this time in my career, I've matured as a cricketer right now and really looking forward to perform for my country."
Even though there isn't a direct correlation between scoring runs in first-class cricket and getting selected for limited-overs matches, or the other way round, an attacking 82-ball hundred against Rest of India in the Irani Cup a day before selection could not have done him any harm.
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo