Stuart hopes to make his father Roger proud

New Delhi, Dec 31: A coincidence? Stuart Binny is set to make his ODI debut for India in New Zealand, the country he toured as an under-19 cricketer.

The 29-year-old Karnataka all-rounder is excited about the long awaited opportunity and hopes to make his “old man” Roger Binny proud. His father, also a former India all-rounder, is now a member of the national selection committee that picked Stuart Tuesday in the ODI squad.

Stuart was pleasantly surprised when IANS told him of his selection for the ODI series in New Zealand starting Jan 19.

“I am completely surprised with the call-up. I didn’t see it coming, I really don’t know how to react,” Binny told IANS while walking out to bat at the Ferozeshah Kotla this afternoon.

Binny, who plays for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL), was congratulated by Gautam Gambhir and his Delhi players at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

“That (u-19) was my first tour and now it is New Zealand again with the senior team. Very excited about the challenge,” said Stuart after celebrating his maiden call-up by smashing 88 off 94 balls for Karnataka in their Ranji Trophy match against Delhi.

Stuart said he was looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.

“Obviously, I am looking forward to making the most of the opportunity,” he said.

Stuart had to wait for 10 years for getting a call from the national selectors. So did he see it coming this time?

“Not at all, to be honest. I did not even know the selection was going on. In fact, someone told me that a big hundred here and things could change. I did not score a ton but feel great that my dream has come true,” said Stuart.

Stuart became a rebel in 2007 by joining the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) but accepted the amnesty offered by the BCCI and managed to return to the fold.

“It was a tough phase. It made me a lot stronger as I knew that I would get less chances to come back into the system.”

Stuart then cemented his place in the Karnataka side and rose to prominence by performing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.

“I realised three seasons ago that I needed to be consistent with both bat and ball to make an impact. I realised that 40s and 50s won’t do the job for me.”

Stuart picked the 2011-12 Ranji Trophy season as his breakthrough one when he scored 750 runs. He followed it up by amassing 650 in the subsequent season.

“The last two years have given me a lot of confidence. I started believing that I could score 750 runs and take 25 wickets. It gave me a big boost considering that I could make runs batting at six or seven,” he recalled.

Comparisons with his father, who was the highest wicket-taker in the 1983 World Cup, were inevitable ever since Stuart started playing the game.

“It is not a burden but a lot of times there were comparisons because we both bowl and bat. To have him around is something I cannot describe. He has been my first and only coach. I grew up playing in his academy in Bangalore,” said Stuart, adding that he learnt swing bowling from his father.

IANS