Stuart Binny © Getty Images
Stuart Binny’s selection in India’s Cricket World Cup squad have raised a few eyebrows © Getty Images

By Bharat Sharma

New Delhi: Jan 12, 2015

Stuart Binny‘s selection in India’s Cricket World Cup squad might have raised a few eyebrows but his Karnataka coaches asserted that the “transformed” all-rounder will prove his critics wrong and be an asset to the team in Australia and New Zealand. Binny is the lone fast bowling all-rounder in the 15-man squad and expectations will be high from him in the conditions Down Under.

“Stuart can be the all-rounder India is looking for. And considering the conditions in the World Cup, especially New Zealand, he can be very useful for the team. He will be very handy with both bat and ball,” Karnataka bowling coach Mansur Ali Khan told PTI. Batting coach J Arun Kumar concurred with Khan despite being reminded that Binny failed to pick up a wicket in three Tests he has played, all in the pace friendly England. With the bat, he made 118 runs in six innings at 23.60.

The only noteworthy performance in his six One-Day Internationals (ODIs) was with the ball and that came against Bangladesh last June, when he bagged six wickets for four runs. “Stuart was the only fast bowling all-rounder even in the thirty probables picked earlier. He will be very handy with the ball in New Zealand. He is someone who swings the ball a lot and can be useful with the bat either at six or seven,” said Arun Kumar, the 39-year-old who played 109 first class matches besides 100 List A appearances.

He went on: “I feel Stuart is more of a batsman than a bowler. Though honestly he is being looked as a bowler batsman. The pitches in Australia should suit his batting style”. Both Khan and Arun Kumar feel Binny has improved as a player since making his international debut last January and put extra effort on his fitness and pace.

“There are a lot of changes since last year when he went to England. He has improved his pace as well as his fitness. He was a very effective outswing bowler earlier but the inswingers were not coming in sharp. But after the Indian team stint in England, I observed it has started to come in sharply.

“He has enough variations to be successful in ODIs, whether it is his slow bouncers or slow balls or conventional swing,” said Khan. Arun Kumar recalled Binny’s successful days in the ICL, saying time in the rebel league changed his approach towards the game. “I think he got a lot of confidence doing well against big names in the ICL. Since then he has matured a lot, he knows what his role in the team is. But he has to be left alone. You should know how to get the best out of him, if you can do that then he can really be handy for the team. Virat is a very encouraging captain so that should not be a problem,” said Arun Kumar.

World Cup probables Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey were overlooked for the mega event and that has not gone down well with the coaches of a team dominating the domestic scene since the last season. “I am personally very disappointed that Robin is not in the team. He did so well in the IPL and is piling up runs in Ranji Trophy. Having seen him from close quarters, I am not surprised but shocked that Robin did not make the cut,” said the batting mentor.

While Lokesh Rahul is the sole Karnataka player in the India Test squad, Binny will be the lone from his state in the World Cup. “You saw a lot of Mumbai players representing India when the state team was doing well, but it is not the same for Karnataka. There is only one person playing for country and that is really disappointing. In fact if you have more guys coming in a group, you perform better. Rather than having one individual in the team,” said Arun Kumar.