Sunday 13 July 2014 

Farokh Engineer: Hats Off To Stuart Binny

Stuart Binny hits out against England
Stuart Binny's 78 got India out of trouble, and impressed Farokh Engineer
© REUTERS / Action Images
 
 

I think a draw was the right result. I said draw from day one and I'm glad my prediction was right. Neither side  really tried to win this Test - I've said that all along. Both teams were negative in their approach.

Just imagine if Joe Root had taken all those singles yesterday, England would have been leading by 200 and then they could have really put the pressure on India.

I think they were afraid of losing and so were India.

Both sides were sort of sparring with each other, afraid of losing the opening Test, so the result was as expected - a draw.

However, there was some early drama today. The English bowlers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, bowled superbly this morning and that was England's only hope of making a breakthrough, which they did. They got Virat Kohli early on, MS Dhoni went cheaply, they got India six down in no time at all - but they still had to get through the tail.

Hats off to Stuart Binny.

Playing his first Test match, he came in for lots of criticism for being selected - including from me - because I thought Ravichandran Ashwin should have played instead of him but my word, didn't Binny bat well?

He played superbly, as did Bhuvneshwar Kumar, what can we say about him? This is only the second time ever that a bowler has taken five wickets and scored a half-century in either innings. He'll be classed as an all-rounder now!

He batted very sensibly and of course it was a very tame draw - which was always going to be the case, unless a flurry of wickets fell. The flurry of wickets did fall but India weathered the storm and played superbly.

I don't blame India for batting on today. I suggest they felt it would be a bit churlish to have another bowl at Alastair Cook. India are, in a way, fond of Cook and they don't want to kick a man when he's down.

They could have really rubbed it in, got him out and put him under pressure but I admire Dhoni for not doing so.

Now we move to Lord's and selection for this Test will be interesting. I would never drop Ravindra Jadeja from the team because he's the only genuine spinner, along with Ashwin.

England have six left-handers and that's why I would definitely play an off-spinner, but I would play Jadeja as well. However, if it's a green top, I would definitely play Binny instead of Jadeja.

I have to say that apart from Binny and Bhuvneshwar today, it's been a real team effort this from India.

Everybody has contributed a little here and there. That said, Virat Kohli needs to find some form. I consider him to be one of the finest batsmen in the world today in any format of the game.

It's just a matter of time when he'll come good. He's too good a player to continue scoring poorly.

To sum up then, neither side showed the initiative or desire to win and I do hope this negative approach can be cut out, otherwise Test cricket is going to die if we continue to play like this on wickets like this. They have got to brighten up the game and get people to turn up.

Test cricket has to be absorbing for all five days. Sadly, this one wasn't absorbing enough.

Lycamobile ambassador Farokh Engineer was talking to John Pennington. Click here to win a holiday to India with Lycamobile.

© Cricket World 2014