Bengaluru, Sep 22: As Indian players began preparations for South Africa series at home, all-rounder Stuart Binny today predicted a "hard-fought" contest between the sides starting with the Twenty20 International on October 2.
The Indian players are in Bengaluru for a 7-day (from September 21 to 27) preparatory camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), which is situated in the M Chinnaswamy Stadium premises. There are 32 players including captains MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli in the camp.
Yesterday (Monday) and today, the Indian cricketers were confined to indoors at NCA. Their fitness was being assessed. They are likely to start batting and bowling practice tomorrow (Wednesday).
Binny, speaking to the media at NCA on Tuesday (September 22), said the series against South Africa was an important one personally and for the team.
Excerpts from Binny's interaction with the media
On India-South Africa series: It's a very important series not only for me but the Indian team as well. They are a quality side in all formats. It's going to be a great series, starting with the T20. It's important that we start well. It's going to be a hard-fought series.
On his confidence: The way I look at it, every day I play cricket, I learn something from the game. As Virat said, the more opportunities that I get the better I will do - that's very true but it also has to come from within. It's also the preparation that goes into playing international cricket. It's the focus and the time spent in the gym or on your skills. The more games I play, the better I will get, but it's also the preparation off the field that will help.
On the preparatory camp: We only started yesterday. The plan is to have a couple of days to assess where our fitness levels are and then get into the skills part of the camp. It's not something that we have to work only on our skills. It has to be a mix of skills and fitness.
On the difference between domestic and international cricket: International cricket is a bit different when it comes to pressure situations. I haven't made too many changes when it comes to skill work but I have made changes when it comes to my game in my head. International cricket is a lot of mental pressure, it's about dealing with situations...which you have faced in Ranji Trophy cricket as well but this is on a much bigger scale.
On his first Test wicket (Angelo Mathews) in Sri Lanka: When I did get him to nick off in that game I was pretty happy but I had to wait a while to get a Test wicket. As I found out, bowling in Test cricket is not the easiest thing to do. I was really disappointed because when we've practised in the nets we've always practised not bowling no-balls. That's not something I do very often but on that occasion I had overstepped. I was pretty disappointed but I had to keep bowling again and again. What I've done in the past for my state team also is to bowl in good areas and wait for the batsmen to make mistakes. It did disappoint me a bit but I finally came back and got one.
On whether he asked the umpire on no-balls in Sri Lanka Test series: He had told me two-three balls before that I was getting close to the crease again. It was just a sign of relief, I
On bowling with new ball and old balls: Why I've been preferred to bowl with the new ball is because I'm someone who can swing the new ball. I do enjoy bowling with the semi-new ball and the old ball as well. It brings in different variations. The lines and lengths also differ when you bowl with the semi-new-ball or the old ball. You can't tend to pitch the ball up as much. In ODI cricket, you've got to go to your skills - the slower bouncer and the off-cutter. The off-cutter is one of my strengths; it's when to bowl it and the lengths to bowl it on.
On his role in the India team as a bowler: I have been spoken to about what exactly I should do when I'm bowling. I know my roles exactly. It may differ according to when I bowl in the game, how early I bowl in the game. It's pretty simple. I've got to contribute with both bat and ball. It's why I'm in the team. It's something that I've enjoyed doing for Karnataka in the last 8-10 years. It's something I'm looking forward to doing for the Indian team as well.
Indian players at the camp: MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Stuart Binny, Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Karun Nair, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Shami, Axar Patel, Pragyan Ojha, Ravindra Jadeja , Mohit Sharma, Karn Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey.