Stuart Binny has said that few get the opportunity to play a match-saving innings on Test debut, and that he was pleased to have done so for India at Trent Bridge. Binny came in when India were struggling at 184 for 6 in their second innings on the final day and batted for nearly three hours to make 78 and help his side with an honourable draw against England in the first of five Tests.
A few eyebrows had been raised when Binny was initially named in the 18-man Test squad, and was given his Test top on the eve of the first game by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. While the Trent Bridge surface invalidated his bowling skills, Binny defended his consideration with a radiant 78.
“It’s an extraordinary and exceptionally pleased feeling, particularly for the family and all my companions who backed me all through the extreme times I confronted to get here,” Binny, whose father Roger too played Test cricket and is currently a national selector, told the BCCI site. “By and by, it was an exceptionally exceptional feeling to walk on the field for my first session of Test cricket.
“I never truly put a lot of weight on myself to play any format or at any level. I’ve always made sure that whatever cricket I am playing, I have fun. I didn’t contemplate playing Test cricket. I simply took it as it came. Anyway right now I am truly blissful that I have a Test top.”
Roger and Stuart turned into the ninth father-child couple to play Test cricket for India, however Stuart’s presentation appeared headed no place when he made one in India’s first innings of 457 and had unassuming returns of none for 37 from 10 overs in England’s answer of 496. When the more youthful Binny turned out to bat in the first session on the last day, India had dropped to 184 for 6, a lead of just 145, with a lot of time left for England to attempt and force a result.
“I was a bit baffled with the way it went in the first innings. I did the diligent work for the initial 10-15 minutes — which is the most vital stage for a batsman — and after that played a loose shot to get out. So I simply needed to go in there and invest to the extent that in the middle as I could,” Binny, 30, said. “There are very few players who get an opportunity to spare the Test for their nation on their debut. I did and I am truly blissful that I took it.”
Binny said he went out with the mindset of playing out balls instead of scoring runs. “The wicket didn’t suit my style of bowling and I had to understand and accept that quickly. I was told that a Test match lasts five days, so I will be required to play a part at some point,” he said. “So, I went in to bat with a very positive mindset. I knew that if I survived the first 30 minutes, the wicket would ease out. When you get to 25, that’s when you realise, okay, a Test fifty is here for the taking.”
“When we were batting, it felt like we were batting in India. It was a funny wicket,” he added when asked about the pitch.
Talking about the degree of difficulty with the ball reversing as it were, Binny said: “I normally bat at No. 6 for Karnataka and so I tend to play a lot of reverse swing. I just used all my experience of batting for my state when we were under the pump, and in India the reverse swing comes into picture all the time. I tried to do what I do there — clearing the left leg and looking to hit a lot straighter.
The other innings that made a difference in the Indian second innings was Ravindra Jadeja’s 98-ball 31. Jadeja had a tough time against the moving ball, but upon the Karnataka batsman’s arrival, he too settled in nicely. “Jaddu is the type of player who likes to play positive but today the requirement was to bat time. We spoke about just trying to put bat on ball, look solid and not lose our wicket at any cost,” Binny explained. “The game would have opened up had one of us gotten out at that time. It was all about watching the ball hard and batting for each other.”
Roger’s highest score in Test cricket is 83 not out against Pakistan in Bangalore in 1983. “I actually didn’t know about it,” Stuart said. “When I went back to the change room, it was pointed out to me. Hopefully, there are many more Test matches to go for me and I will be able to overhaul his score.”