Roger Binny Interview: 'Injuries Need To Be Minimised At Any Cost'
Exhaustive strategy to reduce player injuries is key focus, says new BCCI president Roger Binny in a conversation with Swarajya.
Playing in Pakistan? ‘Not BCCI’s call; need government clearance’
Barely 72 hours after becoming the new president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), veteran cricketer Roger Binny is rolling up his sleeves to transform the quality of cricket in the country.
Better spectator experience, high-quality pitches and an exhaustive strategy to reduce player injuries – these are three of many areas that Roger will focus on, over the next few months.
During a felicitation event organised by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), Swarajya caught up with the 1983 world cup hero for a privileged chat, at his favourite home ground, the Chinnaswamy stadium.
Binny sounded an alarm bell regarding player injuries. His concerns stemmed from pacer Jasprit Bumrah getting injured just 10 days before the T-20 world cup in Australia. “This is high on my priority list. Injuries need to be minimised at any cost”, he said.
Binny announced that the Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy will have a larger role to play in the future, not just for rehabilitating injured players but also going back to its foundational goal of creating and grooming high-quality young cricketers from across the country.
Defending the uncomfortable bounce of geo-political diplomacy
Binny takes strike during the crunch overs when conversations are abuzz about team India’s participation in the 2023 Asia Cup in Pakistan, a few months from now.
Amidst speculations of India pulling out of the series, Roger made his stand clear. “This isn’t the call of BCCI. We need to take clearance from Government if we leave the country, or if other countries come here. We can't take that decision on our own.”
Interestingly, Binny kick-started his international career in 1979 in the first Test against Pakistan at the Chinnaswamy, and ended his Test career, playing against Pakistan in 1987.
Franchise cricket – coming soon to smaller cities
According to Binny, franchise cricket is ready to make inroads into smaller cities. “I’m paying close attention to spectator facilities and comfort across stadiums in India. One of the reasons is the fact that franchise cricket, especially in the short format, is all set to spread its wings to smaller cities. We’ve had a few matches being played at Rajkot and Ranchi for instance, and this trend will definitely continue.
Speaking about his home state, he added, “Don’t be surprised if you see Indian Premier League matches being played at Dharwad or Hubbali soon.”
Women in cricket
Binny believes that the popularity of women’s cricket is set to grow by leaps and bounds. “Across the world, we are witnessing women’s cricket gaining popularity. In India, we are pushing for more matches and tournaments to ensure that we are able to produce and groom women cricketers in the months to follow”, he said.
In 2023, the men’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will be preceded by a women’s IPL, in the same format.
Binny there, done that
Binny brings to the table vast experience both as a player as well as a cricket administrator. He represented India in 27 test matches and 72 ODIs, with 47 and 77 wickets respectively to his credit.
His most impactful stint was the World Cup triumph of 1983, where he lapped up 18 wickets with his unique brand of medium pace bowling.
He assumed the post of BCCI President on 18 October 2022, before which he was an integral part of the KSCA for more than a decade.
Over the years, he has also empowered cricket in South East Asia and the Middle East by serving as the cricket development officer of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC). The first Anglo Indian of Scottish descent to be part of Indian cricket, 67 year-old Roger Michael Humphrey Binny also loves golf and is passionate about wildlife conservation.
Formal, yet friendly
His son Stuart Binny, an all-rounder has represented Karnataka and has been part of the IPL. Stuart’s wife, Mayanti Langer is a popular cricket expert and TV presenter.
The 36th president of the BCCI is a doting grandpa at home, but is ready to take on a more formal, yet friendly persona as Indian cricket’s most important man.
Roger that, please!
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