There weren’t many surprises in the Indian Test team that was chosen for the gruelling England tour, but there was one selection that can be termed as nothing less than a shocker. Stuart Binny is among those who has been given a place in the team for the Test tour of England. While Binny’s selection in a one-day or a T20 outfit can be comprehended since he can contribute crucially with both bat and ball, he hasn’t done anything sensational to earn a Test berth out of the blue.
With all due respect to Binny, he isn’t someone who is talented enough to succeed in five-day cricket at the international stage. We’ll all be happy to be proved wrong, but the chances of that happening are very slim. Firstly, it is very difficult to see him getting into the starting eleven. Being someone who can bat and bowl at bit, he will face stiff competition from Ravindra Jadeja, who will be the first choice for the number seven slot. Among the bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin has also proved his mettle with the bat, and Binny definitely cannot replace 9, 10 and 11, who are pure bowlers.
One of the reasons why selectors could have opted to select the 30-year-old is because he could move the ball around given the conditions. But the question is, will he actually pose any danger to the English batsmen, who face such bits and pieces bowlers day in and day out. In fact, England have themselves tried such medium pacers like Ronnie Irani and Mark Ealham, but they failed to make much of an impact. From what we have seen of Binny over the years he is not a highly skilled bowler, but is someone who can keep things tight and pick odd wickets.
History proves that players who have been successful in England have either been tearaway fast bowlers like Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis or swing bowlers who bowled at a pace decent enough to trouble the batsmen when he ball moved around. Binny falls in neither category. His bowling is slowish medium at best, and even if he does move the ball around, the batsmen might not actually find him that difficult to get away. An experienced and skilled bowler like Praveen Kumar would have been a much better choice, but for some reason the selectors continue to ignore him.
Binny isn’t a proper batsman either, so he cannot be utilised up the order. At best, he can come in late in the order, and chip in with some important runs. Then again, India have bucketful of men who can score runs in the top and middle order. There is little chance of Binny replacing the likes of Dhawan, Kohli, Pujara, Rohit or for that matter even Dhoni irrespective of whether they perform or not. The query thus remains unanswered – what prompted Binny’s selection in the Test squad for England?
--By A Cricket Analyst