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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

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (October 29, 2012, 17:59 GMT)

Amre or not, Raina has issues with test cricket. He's a good player for T20s and ODIs - the 2 attractive formats of cricket. That makes him an attractive player BUT in tests, he looks ugly. He will be tested by England, especially by Finn and Broad who can get the ball to bounce even on our slow and low pitches. I honestly don't want to see Yuvi and Raina in that first test squad. Please, PLEASE give Tiwary or Rahane a chance to shine. Indian selectors need to move forward with their planning. We have a new selection committee in place, but so far it seems even these guys are prepared to remain static. That doesn't bode well for Indian cricket. When will we learn ?!

Posted by perl57 on (October 29, 2012, 16:55 GMT)

I have not seen this much commitment since 1998 when a legend called Warne came over. What happened later, as we all know was legendary, but lesser known aspects were Sandhu's tactics in the game Vs Bombay when Sachin smashed a double hundred. Against Warne Wright's and Siddhu's tactics of attacking Warne out of the way. Not for once did Warne say I do not want to bowl and he did exceptionally great. Let us hope India takes this insult of 8-0 as a catalyst to inspire them.

Posted by SamRoy on (October 29, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

IF india ever wants to improve as a test team they need to permanently shut the door on Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh. But, the selectors are so .. Well, let's hope they do a better job than Srikanth.

Posted by Arrow011 on (October 29, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

Raina should play lot of tests, when on fire he can be 2nd best to Viru in terms of attacking cricket, he really can hit big Sixes. He should play Adam Gilchrist's role of playing attacking cricket at 6, even Gilly didnt have proper techinique but he used it for attack. As the old saying goes, "Attack is the best form of defense".

Posted by SamRoy on (October 29, 2012, 16:49 GMT)

As if he is going to change into a great test batsman overnight! The English will let him get a 100 in the practice match; makes their task easier in a test match with one less batsman to worry about:) (As Dhoni will immediately include him in the test XI is some how manages to get into the squad)

Posted by Nampally on (October 29, 2012, 16:27 GMT)

Suresh Raina is a very talented player & a brilliant fielder. His batting is more suited to shorter format. If he wants to play test Cricket he has to play differently. He has to be satisfied with S/R of 50 instead of >100. Also some of the uppish shots that he plays need to replaced with more carpet drives. In T20 if you are out hitting the ball uppishly, it is one way to beat the fielders to the boundary. It is also accepted you may be caught. But in tests you have to play safely first & do not throw away your wicket. To summarize, in Test Cricket you need to Learn 1.Sound defence & footwork 2. Avoid poking at balls outside the off stump 3. Have Infinite patience 4.Cope with more bouncers either by ducking or hooking them 5. Only hit uppishly when you are sure to clear the fielder. Sehwag,Rohit Sharma, Gambhir & Raina got very low marks on all these 5 points in recent matches. Either they learn the Test Code or be dropped in Tests. There should be a coaching camp for Test players.

Posted by Selassie-I on (October 29, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

Fair play for Raina trying to improve,I do like him, but he has some way to go in tests. Best of luck to him.

Posted by   on (October 29, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

Talented or not, the fact that he is putting in extra effort to get into test team is indicative of 3 things 1. His attitude - despite earning millions from ipl and odi he wants to do well in tests 2. The importance of test cricket, 3. The gap in the attitude between raina and some one like Rohit sharma.

Posted by landl47 on (October 29, 2012, 14:40 GMT)

It's a good idea for Raina to try and improve his technique against Swann. I wonder how many overs from Swann he'll face in the upcoming warm-up match? About as many as the England team will face against the Indian spinners, I should think.

Posted by Mahesh4811 on (October 29, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

@GRVJPR- No, you are not the only one. I'm there too :) At least this guy is trying to improve and that's what you expect from a player: To consistently try improving your game. Wish you all the very best Suresh!

Posted by   on (October 29, 2012, 13:50 GMT)

by the way rahulcricket007 that snap is of anderson cleaning up raina..............not swann.

Posted by haq33 on (October 29, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Shoulder over the ball and eyes in line with the ball?? Hardly earth shattering advice really. Hire me as your batting coach and I will give you the same pearls of wisdom for half the price.

Posted by screamingeagle on (October 29, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

Good luck Suresh, hope you do well.

Posted by shashankqvivek on (October 29, 2012, 13:18 GMT)

I hope raina will score heavily in this series and provers everyone wrong.. :)

He is one of those players who play for team...

Posted by   on (October 29, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

Like GRVJPR, I am a big fan of Suresh Raina and wish him well in his training with Amreji. He is a big asset to any team in all departments of the game. And the way he celebrates successes by his colleagues on the field would gladden everybody's heart. He is still young and has a bright future ahead. But he should not abandon his unique style in the shorter versions of the game.

Posted by   on (October 29, 2012, 12:39 GMT)

Rahulcricket007, he is trying to play an on drive against the turning ball V V S very sucessfully played this shot against shane warne but raina is not very very special so that is a wrong shot selection from raina

Posted by cricindia4life on (October 29, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

It's amazing how people try to find negativity everywhere. It's actually quite sad. Poor Raina calls up an expert coach to improve his game and lo and behold, we have comments about how he's trying to cement his spot and get category A contracts. C'mon guys, enough with the pessimistic view of life. Regardless of whether Raina succeeds or not, he's putting in an extra effort isn't he? Can't you simply appreciate him for that? Glass is half full ladies and gentlemen :)

Posted by KishorKumar25 on (October 29, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

Ahh its just a Drama !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by nkoch on (October 29, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

no matter who coaches you, Mr. Raina, the fact is, you're not cut out for test cricket. You are a good ODI batsman and great T20 player.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (October 29, 2012, 10:51 GMT)

look at the pic . i don't know what shot he is playing against swann . if you plays these ridiculuos shots then you will defintely get out .

Posted by pvwadekar on (October 29, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

didn't u earn lots of money before .. why are u using Amre's help now .. why not in England ?Now that England are playing on our pitches .. just so that u can make a decent score in the tests against England and australia. .. and stay in the test side and then get into A category. what a pathetic excuse . ..

Posted by   on (October 29, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

ISnt it nice that Raina, who averages 28 in tests and also is not a regular in tests is working so hard to cement his spot in tests....???

Posted by CricketMaan on (October 29, 2012, 10:26 GMT)

I recollect Dada suggesting a long time ago when Ishant was all over and eventually got injured to get a personal trainer. Youngsters these days have money but need to show willingness to hire coach, trainers to succeed. I remember Shane Watson hiring a personal trainer to get back to the kind of fitness he has shown recently. I would have expected the likes of Ashwin and Bhajji to do that. Ashwin has Venkatraghavan and Bhajji too could have sought assistance from Prasanna or Bedi. But Indian cricketers just like many fans are egostic, not willing to accept mistakes. Thats is where this young XI needs a batting coach. I dont know if Dravid is ready but someone who can quitely help these batters in long format. Having a specailist spin coach can also help. There is money so why not. Ian Chappel will disagree, but when there are resources make most of it.

Posted by GRVJPR on (October 29, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

Well Done Suresh raina. Hopefully "Rohit Sharma" does the same. Best of luck, I rate you unlike others in India. you will prove everybody wrong one day. Your "Only Fan" in India.

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