It is now nine years since Suresh Raina made his international début for India. When he burst on the scene he was touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket. Despite playing international cricket for such a prolonged period he still does not fill the Indian public with confidence every time he steps out to bat. Not like the belief that the fans have with players such as Dhoni or Virat Kohli.
I am a fan of Raina, but even I cant defend his continuous selection in the Indian side. He got the first opportunity out of the younger generation to fill the test spot vacated by Ganguly. Despite scoring one hundread and seven fifty plus scores in his seventeen games, he was found out. It was a shame that he struggled so much against short pitch bowling, if he could concur this he would have lasted longer in test cricket. His stock in terms of test cricket has fallen away totally, to such an extent that he is not being mentioned anymore. In some ways his career has gone a similar way to Yuvraj Singh.
In one day international cricket Raina has been part of one of India’s greatest side. This and his great fielding is probably what has kept him in the side for so long. He has not made one position his own, batting at number four or five. It is a key position for India going into the next world cup. The position requires him to perform one of two roles. The first being the rescue man, if India lose three early wickets it would be his job to steady the ship. The second function is to score quick runs down the order. He is an expert at the later but does not fill anyone with confidence in the first situation.
With a great batsman like Dhoni lower in the order it now seems that Raina’s position in ODI cricket could be under threat. MSD could easily move up the order and another genuine all-rounder could come into the side. A poor series against New Zealand has not helped his cause, add the fact that he has only three ODI centuries to his name despite playing over one hundread and eighty ODI’s.
He still is one of India’s best players at T20 level and should not be removed from this post. I suggest a little time out of the side will not hurt Raina, every time players such as Yuvraj and Zaheer Khan have been dropped they have come back better. This may be the same case for the dynamic fielder. If his form continues to be poor and he doesn’t get dropped then it could really harm the side going forward to next years world cup.