India allrounder Stuart Binny recalled his Test debut in 2014 and how the then captain MS Dhoni asked him to dig in after the tourists found themselves in a precarious position against England in Nottingham.
India were 184/6 when Dhoni departed and they had an overall second-innings lead of 223 runs on the final day. There were still two session of play left on a track conducive for batting. Before he made his stride to the middle, Binny had a word with his captain who asked him to bat first four-five hours to save the Test, the first of the four-match series.
Having endured a sleepless night before, Binny was unable to fathom what was asked of him.
“(It was) A special day in my life to receive my Test cap 281 from Mahi bhai (Dhoni). That Test match again didn’t go the way we wanted to. We were under the pump on the last day. I had scored 1 in the first innings, so obviously [I had] a sleepless night before that second innings when I walked in to bat,” Binny told SportsKeeda.
“And Mahi bhai told me, ‘Listen, we need you to bat 4-5 hours to save the Test match’. And I looked at him like I can’t believe he said something like that to me, because I wasn’t even thinking clearly at that time. I was nervous, I was playing my first Test match and hadn’t got runs,” he added.
India began well having made 140/1 before imploding to lose five wickets for the addition of just 46 runs.
Such was the state of Binny’s mind that he ended up marking his guard incorrectly.
“I walked in, and I normally take a leg-stump guard, and I don’t know what I was thinking that I asked the umpire, ‘Can I have middle stump, please?’ Then I heard myself and [realised] I don’t take that guard. I was that nervous, I didn’t know what I was doing. I just walked around, and till I got the first 10 runs, my mind was so muddled, I wasn’t thinking clearly at all,” the 35-year-old said.
However, the allrounder soon settled in and played a gritty knock of 78 off 114 with eight fours and a six.
India declared at 349/9 before the players shook hands for a draw.
“Then the innings slowly built and gave me some confidence,” Binny said. “I had batted close to two hours and I was batting on 36, [when] I knew that I definitely belonged at that stage. It was 8-9 years of domestic cricket at that spot – either saving matches or trying to put a game on. It’s experience, I think, that got me through that day. I would have loved to have a Test hundred on debut but it didn’t work out that day. I’ll take a 78 any day of my life.”