England v India, 2nd ODI, Cardiff August 28, 2014

Raina thrilled to end century drought

ESPNcricinfo staff

Suresh Raina: "This knock is one of the most special ones for me" © Getty Images

Suresh Raina came into this series with question marks over his place in the one-day outfit, having been left out of the squad when India last picked a full-strength side, during the Asia Cup in March. The counterattacking hundred on Wednesday, his first outside Asia and his first since January 2010, in the second ODI against England should give him a head start in the race for middle-order spots.

Raina was particularly pleased with his effort as it came after a dreadful run for India in the Test series, which ended with three one-sided defeats. "This knock is one of the most special ones for me given the circumstances and the conditions," he told the BCCI website. "We hadn't won the game in a long time and to help the team break that jinx with a century was very satisfying."

Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma had started India's recovery after a nervy start that has been a familiar sight all tour, but it was Raina's century off 74 deliveries propelled India towards a 300-plus total. "After I got my fifty, I got a bit conscious [about the score] because I hadn't scored a century since a long time and I wanted to finish well," he said.

"Rohit also got out after his fifty and I was determined to carry on till the end. So I played khadoos (doggedly) for a while. After a while I started to play my shots, which did disturb the bowlers' rhythm. They struggled with their field placements and bowling areas. That's when I knew that I was dominating them and was thinking one step ahead of them."

After India's disastrous showing in the Tests, the BCCI had installed Ravi Shastri as the team director, prompting speculation over head coach Duncan Fletcher's future. There have been conflicting statements over who remains in charge - Shastri, Fletcher or captain MS Dhoni - but Raina said the team environment was "very good" and that Shastri's appointment was already proving beneficial.

"Ravi Shastri gave us a lot of confidence," Raina said. "He came to the team meeting and said a few words to the team which were very inspiring. He was also sitting with me in the bus when we were on our way to the stadium and he told me, 'khadoos khelna hai (play a stubborn game)'. There is a different comfort level when you talk to a former Indian player; you can be free and honest. All the other coaches have been very supportive as well but Ravi Shastri set the tone for us and instilled confidence in the team."

Raina also credited the training he did in Mumbai with Sachin Tendulkar and former India batsman Pravin Amre, who has also worked closely with several other Indian batsmen including Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane. "After all the work I had put into my game in Mumbai with Sachin paaji and Amre sir, I was determined to join the team and bring them some happiness, whether it is by scoring a hundred or taking a brilliant catch. I had to bring the smiles back on my teammates' faces. I am glad I could do that today."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Iraj on August 30, 2014, 7:37 GMT

    Brilliant batting display from Raina. He seems matured a lot with the help of Dada. He was vulnerable to short ball sometime ago but now it seems improved a lot. Raina is improving day by day & hope he could improve as a master batsman in ODI's. Now the ODI series seems in the hands of team India. Good Luck for the series !

  • Asher on August 29, 2014, 9:53 GMT

    Can anyone tell me whats going on in Virat's mind? He was just came to the Pitch and tried to hit the ball over the top. He was in such a hurry to get out I guess Bcuz the one who wants to play a long innings dnt play shots like that especially in that phase of time when India was struggling.

  • Anuradha on August 29, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    Raina is one of best middle order Indian batsman in modern day..who has huge talent accelerate him self.i think Indian middle order is not bad..but the case is Indian openers are not going well. Star batsman Virat also out of touch. I'm a Srilankan fan. I'd rather go with star batsman Shewag...Dhawan won't be another DADA.I think murali Vijay is totally better than him. he is complete batsman.my option is Viru........non can perform like him..recent past in IPL he showed still he can blistered all over the place.....Viru we hope you will play in 2105 world cup.In modern cricket still there we can't see such a opening batsman......

  • Dummy4 on August 29, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    @ Babu Duraisamy: Weren't you following Indian cricket of late. We have a lot of young players to come to the national team. To name a few Baba Aparajith, Unmukt Chand, Manoj Tiwary, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson. We should get rid of Raina before he is becoming a liability to the team.

  • Dummy4 on August 29, 2014, 8:35 GMT

    Raina is a brilliant player stated by one of the best critics of the Cricket particularly Indian Cricket, Greg Chappell, which is proved very well today. Having come into the team wihtout baggage ( He is not contracted by anyone either captains clan nor others, unlike Jadeja n Rohit) hence it is freshening to see the result. He is a great player and in valuable to team becaus eof all round disply and 100% commitment in all departments of the game.

    Alos he is a very polite player like and in the standards of Mohd. Kaif without support.

    It is heartening to see performers than talented contracted guys.

    All the best SR. rajan

  • prasanna on August 29, 2014, 8:32 GMT

    To Cricinfo ., please allow us to comment on pictures., always wanted ask., some splendid shots from cameras., need some credit to camera man as well.,

  • Dummy4 on August 29, 2014, 6:58 GMT

    @Prabhakar: Will be nice if you name them. Raina is one of the very best we have in limited overs cricket, in terms of value he brings to the team. The fear factor he generates is rarely seen in any other young cricketer you can think of. He richly deserves to be in the ODI team on any day. He can still work on his weaknesses in Test Cricket and make a comeback. He can't be too worse than the others we have seen in recent times.

  • Dummy4 on August 29, 2014, 6:39 GMT

    I'd rather go with Vijay and Rohit as openers.. Dhawan looks out of sorts against the moving ball.. Rohit seemed pretty decent.. Both Vijay n Rohit can up the ante when they get settled.. We have the proof of it in IPL.. Raina's innings was a blinder.. None can say he s not fit enough to be in ODI squad.. He has to provide more consistency.. If he comes in early, he shd try to score a 100.. If he comes with 15 overs left, he knows wat to do as he has been in such situations.. I wd say he s the mainstay.. Vk shd find his touch bak.. He s jus an innings away frm that.. Dhoni, need not mention his credentials.. I personally rate him better than all finishers in the world.. He is the bset when it comes to ODIs.. Ashwin has to up the ante in his bowling.. Shami needs to learn to bowl to Lefties.. Dhoni mit as well try Umesh in the next game.. English have been vulnerable to Pace.. Hopefully we ll go 2-0 next match..

  • Dummy4 on August 29, 2014, 4:16 GMT

    We shouldn't take this high and keep him in the national team for long. Because Raina is just an ordinary player who scores big once in a while. He scores plenty at home, Lanka, Bangla and Pak, but mediocre at fast bouncy pitches. We have so many talented young players waiting in the line to replace him.

  • Al on August 29, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    It's time to put Kohli out of his misery. Drop him and play a youngster who is dying to play for India - some one like Sanju Samson. Manoj Tiwary can be tried too. He can bat in the middle and bowl a few overs of leg break

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