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Stuart Binny must prove his detractors wrong at World Cup 2015

By Suyash Srivastava | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - 08:58

When Indian selectors announced the 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup 2015 last month, one name which received severe criticism was of Stuart Binny. After his solid show in the Tests Down Under, several fans and experts were highly disappointed not to see Murali Vijay’s name in the list. However, Binny was someone who didn’t fit in their scheme of things.

While other teams have strengthened their batting order by including quality all-rounders, India too probably needed someone who could bowl four to five overs and also contribute lower down the order. Considering that the prestigious event was scheduled to be played on pitches that assist seam bowling, India needed a medium-pacer.

Irfan Pathan hasn’t played international cricket for quite some time ever since he lost his command over swing bowling - which was his lethal weapon, and surprisingly, there is no other name which comes to mind when we think about an all-rounder who can bowl at decent pace. In the past, Sanjay Bangar and Robin Singh were two such players, but in the current scenario, the situation seems to be worrisome.

And even though India had an option in Binny, the Karnataka player somehow didn’t fit into MS Dhoni’s plans for the World Cup. It was evident from the fact that the 27-year-old played just six ODIs last year after making his debut against New Zealand on January 28. In that match, he didn’t get to bat as India put a respectable score of 278 runs on the board, and bafflingly, while Ambati Rayudu bowled three overs, Binny bowled just one. One might wonder why he was even selected for that match.

But in the recently concluded ODI tri-series, Binny suddenly became Dhoni’s go-to man. The Indian skipper had so much faith in the all-rounder that he gave him the new ball in last two ODIs that India played against England. Binny was the star in the first ODI against England, where he was not only the highest run-scorer, but also the lone only wicket taker.

In the second ODI, he rattled England’s middle-order and picked three crucial wickets of Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara. Not to forget, in both the matches, his economy rate was less than four runs per over.

Having said that Binny is nowhere close to being a formidable all-rounder when compared to the likes of Shane Watson, Corey Anderson or Thisara Perera. But as far as the available options are concerned, he should have played more than six ODIs last year. He should be a part of Team India’s World Cup squad, not as a bowling all-rounder, but as somebody who can bat number six or seven and also bowl a few decent overs.

But as far as Dhoni’s recent experiment was concerned, Binny could possibly open the bowling attack for India in a few matches even in the World Cup. He can be a handy batsman, the only problem being the fact he hasn’t had much international exposure and that there would be enormous pressure on him to score on a consistent basis lower down the order.

For someone who was heavily criticized for being included in India’s 15-man World Cup squad, Binny has performed reasonably well in the few matches he has played in limited-overs cricket this year. While there would be many who would still be unhappy with him playing ODI cricket, the 27-year-old could play a crucial role for India in ICC’s pinnacle event, proving them wrong.

First Published: Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 21:31

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