What is in store for Raina? Hope the figures are misleading

What is in store for Raina? Hope the figures are misleading
What is in store for Raina? Hope the figures are misleading
Samarth Srivastava

Lucknow: He was last seen donning the Indian cricket jersey in February 2017 in a T20I, since then he failed to make his name worthy to get selected in the side. But, the man responsible for the same is none other than Suresh Raina himself who despite getting ample chances to perform in domestic games, did not live up to the opportunities, making his comeback in the national side a dream task.

This is same Suresh Raina about whom Gregg Chappell had said that player of his calibre would be playing in all formats, had he been in Australia. He had even termed Raina as the best prospect in the side. This, of course, was few years ago. But, things changed since then that Raina is finding difficult to get back in the team of any format.

His poor performance even demeaned the Uttar Pradesh Cricket with state side facing back-to-back defeats in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. The Uttar Pradesh skipper seems to be low at confidence, making things tougher for the side.

The left-handed batsman scored 6, 29 against Railways, 0, 5 against Maharashtra, 10, 16 against Delhi and got dismissed at 6 in the ongoing contest versus Assam. He hasn’t made a century in first-class cricket since November 2015. With such lackluster performance, selectors are never going to pick Suresh Raina with so many youngsters waiting in the wings.

Ranji champions in 2005-06 and runners-up in 2007-08 and 2008-09, the Uttar Pradesh has played like minnows since a semi-final finish in the 2009-10 season and two quarterfinals. But, after that the side remained in the lower half of the table.

The captain’s form always has great impact on the performance of his team and Uttar Pradesh is going through the same phase. With few matches remaining in the Ranji season, Raina does not have much to prove his mettle.

Little Master Sunil Gavaskar, however, feels that current Indian Cricket team lacks left-handers. As per him, there is only Shikhar Dhawan having left-handed batting style and the side should have more left-handers for balance. Gavaskar said Raina and Yuvraj can be the best choice for the missing slot.

“When you are looking at the India’s middle order, India should be looking at a left-hander. There is nobody (no left-hander) apart from Shikhar Dhawan, nobody else in the middle order. May be whether you are looking at Suresh Raina or Yuvraj Singh who can come in and bowl the odd over. I know these are temporary measures, but I think you have got to look at someone, who can bat left-handed,” said Gavaskar.

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The Uttar Pradesh cricketer has played 223 ODIs for India and amassed 5568 runs at 35.46 with five hundreds and 36 fifties. Such impressive records leaves one wondering why the man called Suresh Raina is not playing for India.

Raina, however, feels that he can make a comeback to the side but also believes that there is a competition with young guns like Hardik Pandya, Manish Pandey performing so well.

“I am confident I can make a comeback. I am just 30 and fit enough. But, it is not easy for anybody to stage a comeback these days, because the youngsters are delivering. Look at Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav and others. And, nobody has made it to the team easily,” said Raina.

It would be an interesting thing to watch out whether Raina lives up to his words or lags behind with his poor cricketing form.