'Jak and Mak will be missed but we have to move on'

Binny is grateful to J. Arunkumar and Mansur Ali Khan, who coached Karnataka to six titles during their five-year reign before they were replaced by P.V. Shashikanth and G.K. Anil Kumar in April.

Stuart Binny: "My main goal is to win the Ranji Trophy again. Only then will we (Karnataka) have guys going on to play for India and India-A.”   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

By his own admission, Stuart Binny did not finish last season in the best of form. The all-rounder was dismissed without a score in both innings as Karnataka lurched to a seven-wicket defeat against Tamil Nadu in the quarterfinals of the Ranji Trophy.

Binny was not the only one to struggle for runs on a green-top in Visakhapatnam, but his difficulties – with bat and ball – coincided with the team's sudden exit. As Karnataka prepares for a fresh start under new coaches, the 33-year-old is determined to make a significant contribution.

“We want to get back to winning ways,” he says. “We have got a good 20 days after the KPL which will help us. Last season, we had four or five days before we played our first Ranji Trophy match, which didn't help, especially because you have to change formats. This year we have no excuses.”

Binny scored 471 runs in the Ranji Trophy last season – acceptable if unremarkable returns – but managed only 12 wickets. He ought to bowl better than that, he admits. “Last season, I started off pretty well but struggled in the back end of the tournament. I did bowl well in patches, but it is an area where I want to improve.”

Binny adds: “It is just something to do with the lines I bowled last season. Normally I play as a third or fourth seamer, and it is very hard for me to attack non-stop. I tend to bowl a fourth-stump line, which really sometimes doesn't reward, so this time I will just bowl more stump-to-stump, ask more questions of the batsman instead of just letting them leave the ball the whole day.”

Binny is grateful to J. Arunkumar and Mansur Ali Khan, who coached Karnataka to six titles during their five-year reign before they were replaced by P.V. Shashikanth and G.K. Anil Kumar in April. “We learnt something new every day when we were together,” he says.

“Jak (Arunkumar) was someone who was 'bindaas' (carefree, easygoing) with the boys because he let us do what we wanted to do. That's how we got the best out of players. Guys who were in their bubble got out of it because the support staff made an effort to reach out to them. Jak and Mak did a great job for us. They will be missed, but we have to move on.”

Binny last played for India just over a year ago. He has not given up on a return to the national team, even if it appears that Hardik Pandya has nailed down the all-rounder's spot. “Look, it is easy to sit at home and get upset, but at least there is someone to push me,” he says.

“The more I try to catch him – however, well he is doing – the more it is going to improve my game. For me to make a comeback, I need to score 1000 runs in the season, and for that, I need to prepare well and not worry about selection or who's doing well around the country.

"My main goal is to win the Ranji Trophy again. Only then will we (Karnataka) have guys going on to play for India and India-A.”