'Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.'
For someone who has hardly made a mark in 3 years of international cricket, except for his 6/4 against Bangladesh, Stuart Binny might want to take things a bit more seriously from here on.
He has been the butt of more than enough jokes for a while now. It's not that he's being made a scapegoat. Jadeja and Ishant were also trolled at all levels, but they came back with stronger performances and made the same people bow in adulation and believe in them.
Till now, the problem that persisted was Binny not doing anything exceptional. But after the recently concluded T20 in the USA, he became a villain in the eyes of fans. While Evin Lewis was batting explosively and hitting bowlers round the park, he made it even more embarrassing for Binny, who got hit for five consecutive sixes and barely survived the unwanted milestone of conceding 36 in an over.
More than the brilliant batting, what disappointed was some really mediocre bowling that made Lewis’ task easier. Even the last ball that Lewis missed hitting for a six was a full toss. What hurts more is the prospect of Binny not giving his best. At times he seemed jaded and lost, like had no clue with his poor lengths.
It might even be the last time Binny bowls in international cricket. But it’s never fair to write off any cricketer. While cricket can be cruel, this game has also seen some great turnarounds. Take Ishant Sharma for instance. India lost a game they should've won as he conceded 30 runs to Faulkner in an over. Everyone thought his career was in jeopardy. Just 9 months later, he was treated as a hero for his match-winning 7 wicket haul at Lords.
However, the number of chances Binny has got since his debut puts a staggering question over his selection. He hasn't been influential in his domestic career as well. Adding to that, his was a surprise inclusion in the World Cup 2015, though his not playing a single game was a completely different story. The selectors have time and again shown faith in Binny, but he managed to disappoint every time.
If you discount the 6 wicket haul he took in 2014, his tally is just 14 wickets in 13 ODIs. While people criticize Rohit Sharma for not using his talent, he shows up more often than not. On the other hand, Binny is yet to reveal his potential after being around for a considerable period. While the situation is poor in limited overs internationals, it gets worse in Tests. Just one fifty on debut followed by failure in his next 9 innings. And just 3 wickets to show off his bowling prowess. It would make more sense if India play with a specialist rather than going in with Binny.
Over the years, we've seen agile fast bowling all rounders emerging from different teams like Russell, Mathews, Stokes, Faulkner and Woakes. Bluntly put, Binny is not even close to their league.
The thing that has worked out well for Binny is that he hasn't got much competition. Rishi Dhawan has failed to prove himself on a consistent basis. Hardik Pandya began well but died down by the end of the season. He didn't even feature in the starting XI for Mumbai Indians in their last few IPL games this year.
Right now, opportunities are rare as the competition gets extremely stiff. Youngsters know that, on a given day, they need to grab a chance and make the most of it before it's too late. At this juncture, Binny has certainly outlived his uselessness in the limited overs team. With the rest of the Test season slated to be played in India where spinners would rule the roost, it would be difficult to imagine Kohli going in with Binny rather than a strike bowler.
Now Binny doesn't need a “good” performance to make amends for his selection. He really needs to do something extraordinary, like Jadeja in the Champions Trophy or Ishant at Lords, to erase the blemish on his career. Better late than never. Just hope that Binny finally arrives.
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