Suresh Raina might not be one of the most technically sound batsmen around; however, he has made up for his lack of technique with pure grit and determination.
This never says attitude has allowed Raina to make a comeback in the ODI side after almost being in the wilderness for three years. The southpaw last played an ODI against South Africa way back in October 2015. From there on, the road has been rather difficult but Raina has never given up.
After Ambati Rayudu failed to clear the yo-yo test, it was Suresh Raina who was brought in as his replacement by the national selectors on Saturday. He was an integral part of the Indian limited-overs side under the tenure of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
However, life came to a standstill when the new skipper Virat Kohli made it mandatory to clear the yo-yo test. He had earlier failed to clear the yo-yo test when the benchmark was 16.1. He was subsequently dropped from the tour of Sri Lanka.
With already more than 200 ODIs under his belt, it would have been easier for him to quit. However, Raina was not ready to give up yet. At the age of 30, he wasn’t getting any younger. However, he challenged himself and eventually succeed. Raina is really a big match player and his experience will be huge for India in the 2019 World Cup.
After the initial stages of the Ranji Trophy season in 2017, Raina refused to comment on his performance. He had said it was an important season and he will comment only after a few games. By the comment, he made some serious statement and it was quite evident from his performances that followed.
Raina finally managed to clear the yo-yo test in December and subsequently made a return to the Indian T20I side for the series against South Africa.
“Cleared my Yo-Yo & fitness test today, after days of hard work at #NCA! Received tremendous support from all the trainers, coaches & officials. Thank you all! It’s always so encouraging to train here at #NCA, motivates me to push my limits and bring the best out of me,” Raina had written on his Instagram handle.
Raina stated he was happy his efforts finally got the desired result. He worked very hard in these two years and looked a force to reckon with.
Suresh had a fantastic IPL for the Chennai Super Kings scoring 445 runs at an impressive strike rate of 132. A team management official had said Raina could well turn out to be a vital cog in the Indian team for the 2019 World Cup.
“See, with someone as experienced as Raina, it is all about keeping fit and staying in shape. You don’t teach someone who has played over 200 ODIs how to bat at the international level. The upcoming T20Is against South Africa will be a good test for him now that he has proven his fitness. If he can show form and fitness, he could well be a vital part of the World Cup squad. You cannot buy the experience that someone like Raina brings into the set-up,” he said.
Raina wasn’t at his best during the T20I series against South Africa. He finished with scores of 15,31 and 43 in the three matches. However, his knock of 43 was quite brilliant and it was an indication that Raina had got the belief back.