India A v England, warm-up match, Mumbai October 29, 2012

Yuvraj v Raina for No. 6 spot


A warm-up game ahead of a Test series is usually important only for the visiting side. However, when the visiting side - England in this case - is up against a team filled with Test hopefuls like India A, as will be the case at the Cricket Club of India's Brabourne Stadium from Tuesday, there will be as much at stake for the hosts as the visitors.

With India's Test team in a rebuilding phase and at least half-a-dozen fringe batsmen to feature in the three-day game, all of them will be gunning to impress the newly-appointed national selection panel ahead of the first England Test, which starts on November 15.

While the likes of M Vijay and Abhinav Mukund will try to regain their lost spots in the Test side, Ajinkya Rahane and Manoj Tiwary will do their best in order to take a step forward towards their Test debut. However, the two players who will be under the scanner the most will be the left-handed batsmen Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh.

Both have long been a key part of India's limited-overs sides and have been vying for the No. 6 slot in the Test batting line-up. While Raina, who returned to the eleven during the two-Test series against New Zealand in August-September, will be looking to seal his spot for the England series with a big knock over the next three days, Yuvraj, who marked his return to first-class with a double century in the Duleep Trophy two weeks ago, will be desperate to complete his comeback bid from cancer by returning to the Test team.

Raina, who will be leading the India A side, talked about his battle within the battles against his senior team-mate. "He (Yuvraj) is my role model. I would love to see him back in whites," Raina said on Monday on the sidelines of India A's gruelling practice session. "I want that (No. 6) spot too. But I'd rather not dwell on who the spot will go to. I just look to enjoy the players' company. Yuvraj has just come back from a big disease and he's also been slogging it out. It's up to the selectors who they want to pick.

"He's a big role model for me and others, but I want to play these four Tests against England. I was there in England and I feel the pain of losing that series 0-4. I want to give some of that pain back."

While Yuvraj preferred to remain silent, Raina was forthcoming on what's gone wrong with his Test batting of late. "It's just the mental aspect. I've given all that I have had to Test cricket," he said. "A lot of people say and write a lot of things, but I know where I stand as far as Test cricket is concerned.

"Batting at No. 6 is not that easy. Very often you get stuck with the tail and have to bat around them. I scored fifties in the West Indies and England and I even batted well against Australia in 2010. I've played 16 or 17 Tests, but as I play more games, I will understand my game better. I've already played 150 ODIs for India and have played several years of IPL. I know what the coach and selectors expect from me and what they need me to do at No 6. I love to play my natural game and I love to hit the ball."

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al on October 31, 2012, 16:56 GMT

    Manoj Tiwary deserves the no. 6 spot. Yuvi might get it due to his all round performance. Raina should NEVER EVER be considered for Test matches. If Shikar Dhawan performs well in upcoming match against England, he should be given a chance in place of Viru or Gauti.

  • Shaheer on October 30, 2012, 19:04 GMT

    Where is Kaif....???

    a comment from cricinfo user: " it would be funny, if Rohit Sharma gets selected again in place of Tiwary because Rohit looks so much more elegant :-) .....Selectors have done it in past. Kaif was not retained in the test squad in spite of making best of his chances in the test matches; because, other players looked more elegant than him :-)"....

  • raghavan on October 30, 2012, 16:36 GMT

    Yuvraj should play at no.6.He is good player of the cut,pull and hook shots.His only problem in Tests so far has been too many games on the sidelines and his flashiness.

  • vic tor on October 30, 2012, 15:56 GMT

    @Rogerunionjack....I don't think Swann was being very polite when he criticised his own team mate KP in his book which came out in the middle of a match. Even Andy Flower wasn't too impressed with that, and said so at the time. Cook, is a gentleman, but I am afraid I can't say the same about Finn, and especially Swann.

  • Sheran on October 30, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    Whatever you say, England will be eventual winners. Indian team is really weak, humiliation is on the cards at Home too.

  • Rajesh on October 30, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    @vacant slip your team not even won a single world cup even though they are the one who invented cricket..india won two wc's one in ENGLAND Other in pathetic was your team?please answer if you dare..

  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Why do people give out their resume verbally every time they are in the fringes?

  • Leslie on October 30, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    Given the fact that Tiwary scored 93, and he can bowl, and he can play the short ball, and he hasn't only recently recovered from a life threatening illness - why the hell isn't he being considered? Can we just ditch the idea already that Raina is ever going to be able to play test cricket. It's like hoping that Mitch Johnson will be a chess grand master - ain't gonna happen.I do hope that Yuvi plays again, but for the sake of his own constitution, he shouldn't be rushed back too soon.

  • Dummy4 on October 30, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    firstly u need to be in the team composition Mr. Raina...u must check ur is worse than even Irfan Pathan..and at domestic level Manoj Tiwari has done exceedingly well with average of more than 59.

  • Al on October 30, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    Yuvi, Irfan Pathan, and even Vinay Kumar can bat better than Raina. The No. 6 spot should go to Yuvi, Pathan or Tiwary. Raina has been playing for the past 8 years. He should forget about tests and stick to ODI and T20. He might end up retiring before 10dulkar!

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