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Raina seeks Amre's help

Amol Karhadkar

October 29, 2012

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Suresh Raina has his stumps disturbed, England v India, 3rd npower Test, Edgbaston, 1st day, August 10, 2011
Suresh Raina struggled against the spin of Graeme Swann during India's 2011 tour to England © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Pravin Amre | Suresh Raina
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
Teams: India

Immediately after arriving in Mumbai on Sunday morning for the warm-up game against England, India A captain Suresh Raina called Pravin Amre, the former India Test batsman who is now a coach, and requested him to come over to the Brabourne Stadium to help him with few technical issues with his batting ahead of the crucial game.

Amre, who knows Raina since his age-group cricket days and had last worked with him before he left for Australia for the tri-series earlier this year, obliged and spent a long time with Raina during the A team's practice session on Sunday.

Amre has coached Mumbai's Ranji Trophy team for five years and has been associated with the Mumbai Indians and the Pune Warriors. However, it wasn't the first time Amre was dealing with an individual batsman. For the last three months, he has been working as a batting coach for Robin Uthappa, the Karnataka opening batsman, who has been trying to regain his spot in the India team.

So is it time for top batsmen to appoint personal batting coaches? "It's up to the players. I'm earning a lot of money in cricket and I can choose who I want to train with. If I'm not fit, I can ask doctors or physios at the NCA to come and train with me for two months to get me fit," Raina said on Monday.

"With so many formats to switch between, it sometimes gets difficult and you need somebody to observe you and guide you all the time. Look at sports like tennis and shooting, the coach always travels with the sportsman. So when you are making a lot of money, why shouldn't you hire a specialist who can help you out? It's something that I can look at in the future. Cricket is all about sharing one's knowledge and it's more about skills than technique, if a coach can tell you about your skills and improve them, it will help you play different formats."

Raina also spelt out his bond with Amre, who has been coaching his employer Air India's team for almost a decade now. "When I was 14 or 15, I played a lot of matches at the Under-19 level for Air India and have known Pravin sir since then. He knows my batting well," Raina said. "When you're not in the team, you need somebody to work on your game all the time. Pravin told me I've been batting well, but the time has come to change my game now. The button has to be pressed. That's somewhere England have done well. Graham Gooch has been a big addition to the side. Look at how he changed Alastair Cook's game and performances.

"I asked him [Amre] about [Graeme] Swann. He troubled me a lot in England and got me out four or five times. He asked me to keep my shoulder over the ball and my eyes in line with the ball."

While a player may feel the need of closer assessment from a personal coach, Amre feels it's more challenging for a coach to work on an individual basis.

"When I used to work for a team like Mumbai, I knew I had six batsmen to rely on. It didn't matter who scored runs. What mattered the most was the team's performance," Amre told ESPNcricinfo. "Here, there is just one batsman who I am working on and I would be assessed only based on what he does. So it's imperative that the player-coach partnerships works for the better. When it comes to Suresh, we share a personal bond and there's no contract. Whenever he asks me to work on his batting, I cannot say no."

It remains to be seen if Raina makes the most of his time spent with Amre over the next three days.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by AjaySridharan on (October 30, 2012, 14:19 GMT)

Shoulder over the ball and eyes in line with the ball!! Is that not batting 101?! How did he make it to this level without knowing this basic technique?!

Posted by oxleyg on (October 30, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

I agrede with "sweetspot" expecting Raina to average 50+ from 6 is too ambitious, but 28 is what is expected of a no. 7/8. An average of 42 in first class cricket tells you he is not suited to the longer format, India has so many talented players to choose from (Tiwary is averaging 58 in first class cricket in any other country he would have been given a chance along time ago). As an England Fan I hope we can be competitive in India and the tests produce close finishes (preferably with an England win), but India in India are as diffucult for English players as England are in England for Indian players. 2-1 ti india would allow England to come home with their heads held high, any better and questions will be asked about the Indian teams trest credentials. For world cricket a strong Indian Team in all formats is key.

Posted by sweetspot on (October 30, 2012, 7:01 GMT)

Raina's deficiency in Test cricket is technical. If the same deficiency exists in ODIs, then the bowlers don't know how to exploit that. As we keep on hearing this harping that someone like Suresh Raina is unsuited to Test cricket, let's not forget that test cricket has changed as well. Most games are yielding results, and many without even going to the 5th day. At #6, it is unfair in any format to expect an average of 50+ from anyone. These days, we need a quick scorer to change the tempo of scoring in order to take home an advantage or counterattack in case of a collapse. The days of building walls in Test cricket are over! Please, people, open your eyes. And how about appreciating someone who is being open about him making a lot of money and using it to become better in some way? The reason Raina won't just fade away is because he applies himself robustly, unlike someone like Rohit Sharma, and without getting angry like Kohli.

Posted by Prats6 on (October 30, 2012, 4:24 GMT)

The best thing about Raina is his attitude. He wants to succeed in Tests but he wants the team to win even more, a lot players have the priority the other way around. He never has had the gift that Rohit or Kohli have but he is hungry for success and that should hold him in good stead.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

As I think more and more.. Raina is a hard cricketer but not test level status.. I personally think this should be a great time for India to mould in a new opener.. Maybe Rahane.. My playing 11 for first test.. 1. Rahane 2. Gambhi 3. Pujara 4. VIrat 5. SRT 6. Viru 7. Dhoni 8. Ashwin 9. Zaheer, 10 Yadav 11. Ojha.. this way, viru can get another year out of his batting and we can blend atleast 1 new opener.. cuz Yuvi is not match fit to taht extent and he is already 32.. maybe till 35 he will play test cricket.. Yuvi like Raina is an amazing limited overs cricketer no doubt in that. But our team needs a solid opener as of right now and a good middle order.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2012, 2:09 GMT)

Arrow011, Gilly was an excellent puller/hooker. Raina went someone bowls a bouncer, he gets confused and for the next few balls he is hanging back or his feet don't move. Although SRW evaded/fended in an ungainly way, he was able to completely blank out for the next ball. Raina cannot do this, although it is not due to physical fear (Yuvraj looks physically scared against 140+ bouncers, at least on faster pitches)

Posted by svenkat02 on (October 30, 2012, 1:35 GMT)

I seriously love this guy's attitude. He is fiercely determined, and has a very vibrant and energetic attitude on the outside that endears him to his team mates and the audience. If only he can start converting attitude and determination into numbers....

But I am confident that Raina will CRACK test cricket one day. And that day will come pretty soon! I am confident! And you heard it here first (probably).... :)

Posted by   on (October 30, 2012, 1:14 GMT)

It would be better for India to select Rahane instead of worrying about Raina or Yuvraj, and play him as an opener and push usual opener Sehwag to middle order...........and bring in some surprising element in the team like Baba Aparijitha which would keep England guessing......otherwise, one of the weakest Test side after a long time , as India is now...they should not get surprised if England trick them this time blatantly.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (October 29, 2012, 20:13 GMT)

As much as I like Raina as a one day player, a lot of other players deserve a chance ahead of him in longer format. Raina's first class average is just about 42. A lot of other young players (including Rohit Sharma, Rahane etc.) have a first class average in higher 50s. Selecting Raina in Tests based on his one-day and T20 exploits, and ignoring the first-class performances of a lot other players is injustice to them in my opinion.

Posted by   on (October 29, 2012, 18:47 GMT)

Suresh Rain is very talented and hardworking that is sure when comes to test cricket his problem is mindset attack or diffence some times he is over attacking and some times he is going for over difence if he sort out this issue he can survive in the text field

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