September 20, 2011

Why does Raina fail?

It's easy to dismiss him as not being a Test player, but what if none of the upcoming players the system is producing are?
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It was Suresh Raina's 15th game since his debut nine months earlier. He had batted in only seven of them, and when he marked his guard at the Nahar Singh Stadium in Faridabad, India were 80 for 4 and listing in pursuit of England's 226. Yuvraj Singh's exit made it 92 for 5, with nearly half the overs gone. The game was eventually sealed with six balls to spare, and Raina finished unbeaten on 81 from 89 balls.

In the Guardian, Lawrence Booth wrote of "a cricketer of such frightening potential that a nation's collective frown about life after Sachin Tendulkar might even begin to ease". Raina finished the series with two more sprightly half-centuries, in Margao and Indore. A couple of months later, when the Wisden Cricketer magazine put together a list of 10 young cricketers to watch over the coming decade, his name was on the list.

Five summers on, we heard an entirely different tune. From senior journalists to the fan on the street, everyone seemed to have an opinion about Raina's technique against the short ball. Until a couple of fine innings in the one-day series, there were no press clippings worth saving, just one unkind or disparaging word after another.

Another young man started the Test series with scores of 12, 1, 2 and 5. But Alastair Cook's summer will ultimately be remembered for two centuries against Sri Lanka and the monumental 294 against India at Edgbaston. Though Cook is a couple of years older than Raina, the two are contemporaries. That they excel in two different formats of the game says as much about the environments they've been raised in as it does about the individuals.

Sir Francis Galton, who did so much research on "nature versus nurture", once said: "Nature is all that a man brings with himself into the world; nurture is every influence without that affects him after his birth."

The careers of Raina and Cook provide much insight into the making of a young cricketer. Raina made his first-class debut seven months before Cook, in February 2003, though he would become a regular only the next season, a little past his 17th birthday.

More than eight years on, he has played only 67 first-class matches, including 15 Tests. Cook's tally is a whopping 156, of which 72 have come in England whites. Raina has played nearly twice as many List A games (169 to 89) and more than three times as many Twenty20 matches (91 to 29).

A comparison here is quite instructive. Rahul Dravid, though he spent the bulk of the last 15 years on India duty, has played 134 first-class matches outside the Test crucible. A sizeable number of those came before his debut in 1996.

In May 2010, just before he led an inexperienced side to Zimbabwe, Raina spoke about his career path and his eagerness to play Test cricket - he would debut a couple of months later, in Colombo. When asked about the short ball, he was visibly agitated, attributing his travails to the formats he played in. "If you're chasing 190 [in a T20 game] and you have to score off every ball, you have to try all your shots," he said. "Sometimes they come off."

The key word there is "sometimes". During the one-day series in England, he hit some stunning fours and sixes when the bowlers dropped even fractionally short. But there were also several miscues, like the one that cost him his wicket at Sophia Gardens. So is he really a Test misfit or just someone whose game has been calibrated for the one-day arena?

During his 294, Cook faced 545 balls. Of those, 377 were either left alone or dead-batted to the nearby fielders. As much as the strokes he played and the concentration he showed over nearly 13 hours, the ease with which he left deliveries alone was noteworthy. The same was true of Dravid, who made three centuries in the Test summer. Whenever he played a loose stroke, he would admonish himself, take guard again and resist any other temptation that came his way.

Test-match techniques can't be learned in 50- and 20-over spans. And a first-class system that can guarantee only six or seven games over a couple of months isn't the best teacher either

Like Cook's, Dravid's game was grooved in the first-class school. He struggled initially in one-day colours because hitting over the top didn't come naturally to him. His was a compact technique that needed to be relaxed a little to adjust to the demands of the 50-over game. It's the same challenge that Cook faces now as he leads England in the one-day arena.

For Raina the task is diametrically opposite. In blue, he looks every inch a young man who knows his game and how to extract the most from it. In Test whites he comes across as someone who doesn't know what approach to take. It wasn't the short ball alone that troubled him in England. So wary was he of getting peppered with them that he'd be far back in his crease and in no position to negotiate full, swinging balls from the likes of James Anderson.

It's all too easy to dismiss someone like Raina as "not a Test player". But Indian cricket will face the same problem with youngsters who take his place. Test-match techniques can't be learned in 50- and 20-over spans. And a first-class system that can guarantee only six or seven games over a couple of months isn't the best teacher either.

Sending young players to play tournaments like the Emerging Players Trophy is a big step in the right direction. But there also need to be far more A team tours, especially to countries where the conditions are nothing similar to those found in most parts of India. A little time away from the limelight is no bad thing, as Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer proved after the sternest of baptisms against West Indies and South Africa. Raina, who works as hard as anyone, can certainly find his way.

"There was something about the way he batted," said Dravid, harking back to his first glimpse of Raina in the nets at the National Cricket Academy six years ago. "He was obviously a young, talented kid, and when he first came into the side a month later, you knew there was something different about him. He had the stroke-making ability and it seemed natural to back him."

Indian cricket needs to do that, but first people need to be honest about why Raina fails.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bumsonseats on September 23, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    perhaps if the bcci put more attention to test match cricket, and were not so insular. i know the the owners of the T20 need the razz mo tazz of instant cricket to sell their products. but the money that the board get, more should be spent on test or3/4 day cricket. they need to send the guys that they think will make the grade as batters and bowlers at test level, to to the uk as a development squad. they will get the sort of conditions. that will make them better players. zaheer khan playing county cricket said it made him a better bowler. india need their younger players to get out of their comfort zone. learn your trade and then you can start making big bucks. make a young guy at 20 a millionaire. hes not going to want to play other than T20. dpk

  • teamxxx on September 21, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    Most of the ppl think that India's miserable performance in England is because of thier weak Bowling attack, but as ive seen its because their batters didnt perfrom as they should,there are certain reasons for this first of all is their ageing batting line up,likes of sachin, dravid, laxman, sehwag these r all gr8s of cricket, but these are not young enough, they have acheived what they want in their career,so first of all Team India requires energy in the field in the form of fresh n young blood,india is always been famous for its strong batting line ups,but sorry to say that last complete batsman inducted in the indian team is Gautam Gambhir(who is also facing injury problems),and its a shame that country of that(high class)batting stature is now producing only T20 players coz youngsters are now idealising those players who are zero in their technique but can hit boundaries and get handsome amount.world want another sachin then youngesters with good bat techniques should be in team.

  • ansram on September 21, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    Raina needs to be given much less workload in the shorter format and must not play more than 10 T20 matches an year. We need to shield all guys who can play tests. More than batsmen India need bowlers. An average batting side that scores 300 on average can stil win many matches if there are world class bowlers. A super batting team that scores 500 is no good if the bowlers concede 600 easily. India can get along with this batting, and I am sure they will be guided by the senior players like Dravid and Sachin. It is the bowlers that are the real concern right now.

  • on September 21, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    the most important thing is we need fast bowlers who can bowl consistently over 140 and yet move the ball.I dont think somebody like irfan phatha,zaheer,ishant or munaf does not know this. yet why the have reduced their speed...is it because what we got at this english tour happens once in four years or they know that in subcontinent conditions which are unforgiving for fast bowlers there is no way to deliver..i mean in a calender we play most of the matches in our pitches..

  • jay57870 on September 21, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    The topic could be rephrased: "Will Raina succeed in Tests?" instead of "Why does Raina fail?" - which implies good ODI/T20 players can't succeed in Tests. It's debatable. Both Sehwag & Yuvraj debuted in ODIs 2-3 years before Tests. Viru has a better Test record; the other way for Yuvi. Raina's an established ODI/T20 player: 6 years vs. just 1 in Tests. Only 24, he's still learning & maturing: Work-in-Progress. Like all elite players, he has to work hard to correct his flaws. Yes, he can train at the NCA; play county cricket; & so on. Ultimately, only he can solve his own problems. For sure, he's a talented player, a fielding stand-out, with a rare leadership quality. His best is still ahead. Will he do it in Tests? Only time will tell. Just ask Dravid. BTW, Lehman was a total bust, helped trigger the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Rahul is a priceless cricket asset, helping lift Team India, along with Sachin, Sourav & Co, to great heights. Humpty Dumpty Dileep?

  • jay57870 on September 21, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    Dravid is a fine mentor. Listen again, this time in the midst of an intense contest in WI. How many times did we see Rahul walk across to calm down younger batsmen. In his own words: "You have to weather the storm, the intensity of a particular spell, that will last for 6-10 overs. In Test cricket you need to to fight your way through that, and then things will become easier. You can get caught up a bit with things happening in the middle, people making a lot of noise, the ball flying around or spinning past you ... I have committed that mistake, and thinking becomes really hard. But if you fight your way through that period, things will become a bit easier, like a bowling change or the bowlers will get tired." He knows what it takes to start/build an innings. Hopefully this invaluable advice won't be lost on the young guns. Especially Raina, who experienced Rahul's mentoring first-hand in both tours: On & off the field, over 2-3 months, through thick & thin. Any better way to learn?

  • jay57870 on September 21, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Dileep -- Here you go again with a premature rush to judgment - this time about Raina, just as you did with Dravid in 2008. Remember you wrote off Rahul as "most likely to go the Lehman Brothers way"? It's obvious you can't tell the difference between Wall Street & The Wall. Worse, you're no different from those "Headline-writers" you accuse of making a "decent living from variations on 'The Wall is Crumbling'." You've been proven dead wrong. Now you're upholding the same Dravid as the role model for Raina to emulate. I'm glad you do. Listen to Rahul reveal his time-tested recipe for games: "There are 4 or 5 boxes I need to tick every time (before a game): Physical fitness, technical skills, mental preparation, and how I am feeling emotionally & spiritually. Sometimes you get the results, sometimes you don't. That's life, that's sport." He's been there, done that. Note Rahul's use of the key-word "sometimes" - yet you criticise Suresh's use, call him a "Test misfit." That's not right.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on September 21, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    It's sad players like Suresh Raina will always be questioned in Tests, especially when there are the Badris and Pujaras willing to run the hard yards in the longer version. But at one glance, Raina's strokeplay suggests he's got game. That means, he is to be moulded. And he need look no further than Steve Waugh's game before 1991, and after that year when he was dropped in favour of Mark Waugh. Steve came back a different batsman, much to the chagrin of observers like Ian Chappell. But Waugh made that comeback count. It's funny that, in India, we have seen two kinds of transformations. A Test batsman like Rahul Dravid had to accelerate his game for ODIs. Now, Raina needs to do the exact opposite: endure his batting-class for the Test format. He sure got game.

  • indianzen on September 21, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    he is definitely not a test material, but if nurtured, he can really become one...

  • Domzo on September 21, 2011, 10:24 GMT

    @Arvind Raj - Cook has also scored test centuries against: Warne, McGrath and Clarke (albeit at the very end of stellar careers and after a pretty torrid time early in the 2006 Ashes debacle); Kumble and Singh (on debut); Vaas, Malinga and Muralitharan; Steyn, Morkel and Ntini and Amir and Asif among others. It's a very fair article that talks about entire careers - it doesn't say that Raina is a bad batsman - he certainly isn't - just that, at the moment, he isn't a TEST batsman in the same way that Cook isn't an ODI batsman just yet, though there are encouraging signs that he's starting to adapt his game much better than in his first stint. Again it's down to preparation and balance in domestic/A-Tour etc. cricket, Cook has played in 89 List A games, including 36 in England colours (14 of outside of England) whereas in a longer career, Raina has played only 67 first class games including only 15 tests, of which only 8 have been played outside of subcontinental conditions.

  • bumsonseats on September 23, 2011, 16:15 GMT

    perhaps if the bcci put more attention to test match cricket, and were not so insular. i know the the owners of the T20 need the razz mo tazz of instant cricket to sell their products. but the money that the board get, more should be spent on test or3/4 day cricket. they need to send the guys that they think will make the grade as batters and bowlers at test level, to to the uk as a development squad. they will get the sort of conditions. that will make them better players. zaheer khan playing county cricket said it made him a better bowler. india need their younger players to get out of their comfort zone. learn your trade and then you can start making big bucks. make a young guy at 20 a millionaire. hes not going to want to play other than T20. dpk

  • teamxxx on September 21, 2011, 19:42 GMT

    Most of the ppl think that India's miserable performance in England is because of thier weak Bowling attack, but as ive seen its because their batters didnt perfrom as they should,there are certain reasons for this first of all is their ageing batting line up,likes of sachin, dravid, laxman, sehwag these r all gr8s of cricket, but these are not young enough, they have acheived what they want in their career,so first of all Team India requires energy in the field in the form of fresh n young blood,india is always been famous for its strong batting line ups,but sorry to say that last complete batsman inducted in the indian team is Gautam Gambhir(who is also facing injury problems),and its a shame that country of that(high class)batting stature is now producing only T20 players coz youngsters are now idealising those players who are zero in their technique but can hit boundaries and get handsome amount.world want another sachin then youngesters with good bat techniques should be in team.

  • ansram on September 21, 2011, 16:20 GMT

    Raina needs to be given much less workload in the shorter format and must not play more than 10 T20 matches an year. We need to shield all guys who can play tests. More than batsmen India need bowlers. An average batting side that scores 300 on average can stil win many matches if there are world class bowlers. A super batting team that scores 500 is no good if the bowlers concede 600 easily. India can get along with this batting, and I am sure they will be guided by the senior players like Dravid and Sachin. It is the bowlers that are the real concern right now.

  • on September 21, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    the most important thing is we need fast bowlers who can bowl consistently over 140 and yet move the ball.I dont think somebody like irfan phatha,zaheer,ishant or munaf does not know this. yet why the have reduced their speed...is it because what we got at this english tour happens once in four years or they know that in subcontinent conditions which are unforgiving for fast bowlers there is no way to deliver..i mean in a calender we play most of the matches in our pitches..

  • jay57870 on September 21, 2011, 13:27 GMT

    The topic could be rephrased: "Will Raina succeed in Tests?" instead of "Why does Raina fail?" - which implies good ODI/T20 players can't succeed in Tests. It's debatable. Both Sehwag & Yuvraj debuted in ODIs 2-3 years before Tests. Viru has a better Test record; the other way for Yuvi. Raina's an established ODI/T20 player: 6 years vs. just 1 in Tests. Only 24, he's still learning & maturing: Work-in-Progress. Like all elite players, he has to work hard to correct his flaws. Yes, he can train at the NCA; play county cricket; & so on. Ultimately, only he can solve his own problems. For sure, he's a talented player, a fielding stand-out, with a rare leadership quality. His best is still ahead. Will he do it in Tests? Only time will tell. Just ask Dravid. BTW, Lehman was a total bust, helped trigger the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Rahul is a priceless cricket asset, helping lift Team India, along with Sachin, Sourav & Co, to great heights. Humpty Dumpty Dileep?

  • jay57870 on September 21, 2011, 13:10 GMT

    Dravid is a fine mentor. Listen again, this time in the midst of an intense contest in WI. How many times did we see Rahul walk across to calm down younger batsmen. In his own words: "You have to weather the storm, the intensity of a particular spell, that will last for 6-10 overs. In Test cricket you need to to fight your way through that, and then things will become easier. You can get caught up a bit with things happening in the middle, people making a lot of noise, the ball flying around or spinning past you ... I have committed that mistake, and thinking becomes really hard. But if you fight your way through that period, things will become a bit easier, like a bowling change or the bowlers will get tired." He knows what it takes to start/build an innings. Hopefully this invaluable advice won't be lost on the young guns. Especially Raina, who experienced Rahul's mentoring first-hand in both tours: On & off the field, over 2-3 months, through thick & thin. Any better way to learn?

  • jay57870 on September 21, 2011, 12:58 GMT

    Dileep -- Here you go again with a premature rush to judgment - this time about Raina, just as you did with Dravid in 2008. Remember you wrote off Rahul as "most likely to go the Lehman Brothers way"? It's obvious you can't tell the difference between Wall Street & The Wall. Worse, you're no different from those "Headline-writers" you accuse of making a "decent living from variations on 'The Wall is Crumbling'." You've been proven dead wrong. Now you're upholding the same Dravid as the role model for Raina to emulate. I'm glad you do. Listen to Rahul reveal his time-tested recipe for games: "There are 4 or 5 boxes I need to tick every time (before a game): Physical fitness, technical skills, mental preparation, and how I am feeling emotionally & spiritually. Sometimes you get the results, sometimes you don't. That's life, that's sport." He's been there, done that. Note Rahul's use of the key-word "sometimes" - yet you criticise Suresh's use, call him a "Test misfit." That's not right.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on September 21, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    It's sad players like Suresh Raina will always be questioned in Tests, especially when there are the Badris and Pujaras willing to run the hard yards in the longer version. But at one glance, Raina's strokeplay suggests he's got game. That means, he is to be moulded. And he need look no further than Steve Waugh's game before 1991, and after that year when he was dropped in favour of Mark Waugh. Steve came back a different batsman, much to the chagrin of observers like Ian Chappell. But Waugh made that comeback count. It's funny that, in India, we have seen two kinds of transformations. A Test batsman like Rahul Dravid had to accelerate his game for ODIs. Now, Raina needs to do the exact opposite: endure his batting-class for the Test format. He sure got game.

  • indianzen on September 21, 2011, 11:39 GMT

    he is definitely not a test material, but if nurtured, he can really become one...

  • Domzo on September 21, 2011, 10:24 GMT

    @Arvind Raj - Cook has also scored test centuries against: Warne, McGrath and Clarke (albeit at the very end of stellar careers and after a pretty torrid time early in the 2006 Ashes debacle); Kumble and Singh (on debut); Vaas, Malinga and Muralitharan; Steyn, Morkel and Ntini and Amir and Asif among others. It's a very fair article that talks about entire careers - it doesn't say that Raina is a bad batsman - he certainly isn't - just that, at the moment, he isn't a TEST batsman in the same way that Cook isn't an ODI batsman just yet, though there are encouraging signs that he's starting to adapt his game much better than in his first stint. Again it's down to preparation and balance in domestic/A-Tour etc. cricket, Cook has played in 89 List A games, including 36 in England colours (14 of outside of England) whereas in a longer career, Raina has played only 67 first class games including only 15 tests, of which only 8 have been played outside of subcontinental conditions.

  • getsetgopk on September 21, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    lets get straight to the point here. For any policy to bear fruits you have to give it some time. BCCI's soul purpose over the past four years was/is IPL/T20/Money and they eventually succeeded in their goal but on the other hand succeded in destroying indias test cricket which is a shame. Pointing figures at individual players wont help the situation. India is a great cricket loving country and with test cricket in a spot of bother all over the world alot was expected from India to shoulder test cricket in current situation. But the BCCI and Indian team did exactly the opposite anyways, Indias strength was its batting and with so much focus on T20 cricket even the best of India failed to score runs apart from Dravid. BCCI must think hard about it because Indian fans where all this money is coming from deserve much better results than clean sweeps.

  • on September 21, 2011, 9:17 GMT

    give Raina sometime...he is a very flexible, learning player and he is future captain too...

  • on September 21, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    Raina take a negative things and convert to positive...pls raina we wanting lots more from you in test cricket......

  • on September 21, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    People are commenting Kohli better than raina.....kohli can never bat in down the order he bat only 3 or 4 but raina bat in 3 to 7 any position..kohli is not much aggressive in 40 to 50 overs but look at raina.....and one more thing look at the second innings average between them raina is way better than kohli.........All the best future captain.........

  • kashmniazi on September 21, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    It has to be agreed that India's major / bigger problem right now is its poor bowling attack, rather than its batsmen. There isn't any world class bowler who could turn a match around for them in a single spell. Take a look at all the great test teams of the past and you would find that they had, at least, a couple bowlers who could destroy the opponent's batting line-up in a single spell.

  • mahe_28 on September 21, 2011, 7:53 GMT

    If I was in Dhoni's place, I have to choose Raina ahead of other batsmen because he can bowl and provide break throughs, he did many times. Why Raina has to bowl, because you do not have a fit quality test bowler, even quality spinner, (Bajji si out of form for many years). Raina is a quality player. But he needs some time.

  • here2rock on September 21, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    It is not Raina or other young cricketers from India it is the system and domestic level standard. Indian has two main problems realting to fast bowlers (Whether facing short balls or not producing themselves). It all comes down to producing fast pitches at domestic levels to encourage such game play. The way the pitches are in India at the moment who wants to be a fast bowler? You'd be crazy if you do.

    India needs to replicate the overseas conditions at home so there is no change required when travellig overseas apart from the weather. I can never understand as an Indian fan whey they just don't get it? Som much money why not invest in a system? It breaks my heart and give up being an Indian fan. I might as well support some other teams who care about their cricket like Australia, England or South Africa.

  • tiger9999 on September 21, 2011, 6:45 GMT

    Due respect to your cricketing knowledge, Dileep but you are saying that there are no potential test players around with a better technique than block or slog Raina - Pujara, Rahane, Manoj Tiwari and even Badrinath are way superior in their technique to Raina. Its a real shame that despite Guatum, Sehwag and Yuvi's injury problems none of these guys got a chance in tests.. They all average around 60 in First Class - higher than Sachin, Dravid and Laxman. the selectors are afraid of the need to force the retirement of any of the PERMANENT (37 yrs +) players in case one of the talented young guys shows good form. The problem is that if any of these guys performs they will take the ad revenue from the existing lot!

    People like Pandey, Raidu, Y Pathan, S Tiwary and Uthappa are born to play limited overs cricket and it was a shame on Indian selectors that they selected Dravid and PArthiv Patel to play the ODI series despite these youngsters fit and around.

  • puntertakeson on September 21, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    @valavan Rania is not a Test Material. I think he should be replaced by some one like Dinesh Karthik or Manoj tiwary or Rahane or Manish Pandey. Just by playing in county will never help him, he lacks temperament.

  • on September 21, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    What nonsense. How is this fair Cook faces Munaf, Praveen and Sreesanth but Raina has Bresnan, Anderson, Broad to contend with.

  • ultimatewarrior on September 21, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    Author of this Article is very true in saying "Test-match techniques can't be learned in 50- and 20-over spans" and Vice Versa. Now BCCI has the bowl in its court, it should nurture some player's first class cricket, some player's 50 over game and others' t20 game. Not only this they should go for different team for different pitches also. You can understand with this example in Asian Condition, Sehwag with 96Ing 5603Run 61.57Avg 84.28SR is more threatening than Dravid with 155Ing 7051Run 50.72Avg 43.42SR and gives more opportunities to Win but when we look at outside subcontinent Dravid is simply superb with 118Ing 5724Run 56.12Avg 41.33SR instead of Sehwag's 58Ing 2132Run 37.40Avg 75.60SR. I am not claiming one player is good and other is bad BUT saying its just like some players excel in some conditions and some excels in different. Since margin of error is very little in TOP class cricket BCCI can afford 3 teams in Asian Conditions and 3 teams for outside Asia without any Burn Out

  • harshalb on September 21, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    Raina was hyped by Greg Chapell and jumped the queue. Look at Rahane, he has much superior FC performance over last 5 years and has definitely looked assured against the English opening fast bowlers. A lot of people here seem to have slotted Rahane as a furure or current ODI or T20 batsman for India but the fact is he is actually a TEST batsman. His temperament is more suited to test cricket due to his naturally positive stroke play. What you saw in England was a nervous Rahane trying to fit in the ODI team, under pressure to perform and attacking unnaturally. He is as positive as Sehwag if included in the test team. No kiddin.

  • prasanna_79 on September 21, 2011, 1:37 GMT

    The age group cricket should be seriously looked into and it should be made sure that cricketers aren't allowed to play T20 matches till they play the u19 worldcup.., if selected,or atleast till they reach 19 years.. They should be made to play a lot of 3 day matches and ODIs to a lesser extent.. The basics of all the players (technique,temperament,fitness) should be made very strong by having a strong coaching system.This should be done without changing the players natural flair and style too much.. Lot needs to be done it seems..!!

  • on September 21, 2011, 1:18 GMT

    Nicely written article. I think this is not the story of only Suresh Raina! Nowadays, every emerging player is born and brought up with T20 mindset, courtesy BCCI. If you compare the importance given to domestic cricket by other boards (England and Australia, particularly) to that by BCCI, we are nowhere near their standards. I think this is the high time (after debacle in England) the BCCI should concentrate on development of domestic cricket and nurturing of young talents. There is no point in being the world's richest cricket board, if you can not develop and nurture young talents in the country!

  • Meety on September 21, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    Good article. This is the IPL effect, combined with a Board that has for a long time had more weighting towards ODIs rather than tests. Its not so much about Cook having played more FC matches, more that Cook hasn't played as many short format games. A stint (or two), in County cricket would help him.

  • inswing on September 20, 2011, 22:01 GMT

    One can sympathize with Raina who is unquestionably talented batsman. However, he has gotten a number of opportunities in test cricket has hasn't performed particularly well. He is not being judged on just 2-3 innings. Normally such a player should be persisted with. The problem is that there are too many excellent candidates for middle order batting in tests in India. If you keep Raina, who do you keep out? You have Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj, and Kohli as frontline candidates. As long as big three are there, there is only one middle order spot and these 5 candidates. How fair is it to keep these other 4 out and keep giving Raina chances? Even if another spot opens up, who among these 4 can you keep out and give Raina more chances. I am afraid Raina is in a bad spot given the fierce competition for batting slots in the Indian lineup. It is true that Kohli, Yuvraj, and Sharma could turn out to be only good for ODIs/T20s and fail in tests, but they need similar number of chances.

  • Lord_Dravid on September 20, 2011, 21:03 GMT

    rainas a fab attacking cricketer..i think he needs to specialise in odi and 20/20 as that style of cricket suits him best. if he concentrates on these two formats then he'l give every bowler in the world sleepless nights..what a class! :)

  • Valavan on September 20, 2011, 20:13 GMT

    Raina needs a stint at county to overcome his defects,. He must understand as a player about conditions and use his tactics wisely.

  • Nampally on September 20, 2011, 19:49 GMT

    I like to add one more comment on why does Raina fail in Tests? Probably the most important single reason is his place is very insecure from Test to test. If he is guaranteed his place in the team for say 5 tests & asked to play his natural game with some corrections to look. as pointed out in my earlier input, he will have a much stronger chance of reproducing his ODI form even in Whites. The same was the case for Yuvraj and he checked some of his limitations and played very well in the World Cup.When there are many candidates for one spot, there will be the fear of failure. His 41 ball performance for the golden duck truly shows the level of insecurity he had.Also give him coaching in mental toughness and attitude towards positive thinking. He is too good a cricketer to fear the axe all the time in the Tests.

  • Nampally on September 20, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    Raina was touted as the future Indian great by Chappell when he was the coach. It is tough to understand why he fails in Tests while he bats like the greatest ODI batsman. I think it is purely psychological. Raina is a brilliant fielder. He can bowl useful off spinners. I think it is worth analysing why he fails in tests on a more logical basis. Firstly his preparation seems to be too defensive - He scratched for 41 balls to get the golden pair.Play your Natural game. Why is Raina afraid of failing in Tests the minute he steps on to the pitch to bat? My suggestions are: 1. Give him free hand to play his usual game with one exception - do not hang out the bat half heartedly. Either hit the ball or leave it alone - preferably the latter.2. when the bouncers are bowled at him early on, duck and avoid them initially till you got your eye in. Then smash them.3. Self confidence in your ability is critical. Remember to put the bowlers on defensive by scoring - Attasck not crawl scared!.

  • bumsonseats on September 20, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    iv said it on a few cricinfo pieces. instead of paying vast sums of ipl money to up and coming batters and bowlers. get in touch with the english counties. and pay towards their cricket education. a part season playing 8 county games will do their game no harm at all. dpk

  • Shan156 on September 20, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    @NRI-,

    "Only Dravid plays a bit like Cook, which is somewhat boring but highly effective."

    It is actually the other way round. Cook plays a bit like Dravid. If he could start playing exactly like Dravid, England would be well served. At the moment, he is in a purple patch and long may it continue. But, he needs to hone his technique a bit more to be compared with the great wall of India.

    And, I am an England fan and Cook is one of my favorite players.

  • getgopi on September 20, 2011, 17:51 GMT

    We are over-analyzing this. Raina does not have a capability issue but an experience issue: which formats does he get to play, how much and how often outside the subcontinent?

  • on September 20, 2011, 17:23 GMT

    Raina is a very good talent !! What did the likes of Sachin / Laxman do in England ?? So called great players cldnt manage an avg of 30 also which is a shame.. So in that all sense, Raina is a good prospect and no doubt the best player in ODIs an T20 and will get better with test cricket as tiime progresses

  • on September 20, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    Much as Raina seems to do the Bharat Natyam against short bowling, he should be persisted with. his problems in England were more against spin and Swann than the pacers. He is a very gutsy player and exudes confidence. a little mental push is needed for him to soar in Test Cricket!

  • buntyj on September 20, 2011, 17:06 GMT

    also theres a difference in facing 1-2 quality pacers n facing 4 quality tall fm or fast bowlers- ask the batsman who faced windies 80s - gavaskar had a great record vs pace but took a longtime to score runs in windies 83 (late in series) only tour when he faced full attack (one reason i rate jimmy amarnaths performance on that tour so highly) together, greg chappell has best record vs full windies attack in windies but wasnt as consistent as at other times; also demonstrated by tyson, truman, statham, bedser in oz 54-55. thats why an attack with steyn was less threatening than engs 4 tall fm attack this summer - scarcely any respite n when there was briefly(tiring pacers giving way to swann) raina, yuvi, msd, bhajji, mishra in turn did take advantage; with 4 such bowlers theres scarcely any respite n why it becomes more difficult for even otherwise good players of pace (which raina n other youngsters arent yet though rahane/pujara look like they could develop faster than others)

  • Chetan007 on September 20, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    Raina is a good cricketer. Have you ever seen the position of him in playing XI. Either in no. 6 or 7. That means 5 wickets down. he has to mainly play with the bowlers. If he doesn't score quick runs how you think any bowler could bat long. he has to. While doing so if he gets out, its his fault but if he doesn't score quick runs and let bowlers play, it's his fault if team gets out and he will remain other side. So, every time he is making mistake. Great guys!!!! I support Raina. It's seems to be his tough phase in life. he even not taken rest from more than 2-3 years. He needs rest. He is a good player and come back strongly. Please guys try to understand someone keeping yourself at that point.

  • 2207san on September 20, 2011, 16:59 GMT

    I Just wonder how you can say that raina fails !!! Have you saw the Quarterfinals in world cup . He is one among the special performer of the day . Not only that he is a pure under pressure batsmen. He is the only man to get 400+ runs in each ipl edition. Don't criticize any players those peoples can lost but they cannot be defeated . I'm sure that raina will bounce back. @2207 in twitter

  • tick on September 20, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    none of current indian youngsters who are playing and will play for india have played in county cricket..with bcci income they can send young fast bowlers to differnt counties or 2nd division...instead they play ipl and clt20...while pakistani players like wahab riaz.umer gul.junaid khan.saeed ajmal.razzaq.afridi.etc played county cricket...in long run junaid khan and wahab riaz will get benefits and no doubt about it...while vinay kumar.aaron.undakat.sharmA will struggle

  • buntyj on September 20, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    is it possible that msd finds it tough to keep to 140kph bowlers thats why avoids aaron, yadav n allowed others to drop below 140? and/or r great batsmen feel that if india played 140+ bowlers there would be demand for home tracks with a bit of juice n their averages may no longer be inflated and more accurately (in all time perspective) reflect their worth; after all to deal effectively with fast short pitched bowling you need light bats while indian batsmen mostly play with heavy bats; but light bats arent the answer if theres no will to face chin music - remember azhar. to some extent indian youngsters are unlucky to be debuting in tests when after some years it seems as if a few quality tall hostile pacers r emerging n a lil juice being left on tracks instead of flat belters of past decade. would be great if they banned helmets.

  • cric_fanatics on September 20, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    @NRI..raina also won a world cup for india...cook didnt and i dont think he ever will with that deplorably boring game of his.raina has all the shots in the book..just needs to work on the short ball...may be even cook has the shots too..but what use when you need 500 balls to play them..T20 is the way forward..NOTE my words...

  • loung_singh on September 20, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    raina doesnt need 2 tackle short ball 2 play test cricket...all he needs is srikant 2 be national selector..i dnt understand why duleep has only targeted raina ...there r others also like dhoni n sehwg who doesnt knw hw 2 handle bat outside subcontinent why only raina

  • Rahulbose on September 20, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    Why not India just stick to playing T20 and ODIs from here on. All the first class players are training for their shot at IPL riches. The board is run by IPL owners. So BCCI can simply pull out of the FTP and stop playing test matches. With no quality test batsmen , no spinners and no seam bowlers playing test matches will only result in humiliation for India.

  • TamilIndian on September 20, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    Spot on - This is why I dont understand why players like Badri are not given opportunities in the Test arena. Horses for courses!

  • on September 20, 2011, 16:33 GMT

    @jonesy2 -raina started his test cricket talent in same fashion in the same country in same way same somewhat scores but i have hope that shaun will be a gr8 player for aus in all formats of game and the problem with raina is that he can never be a good test player and players like him are requires in 50/50 and 20/20 we (india ) need rohit virat pujara rahane pujara mukund to replace gr8 like sachin dravid laxman are openers are settled for 6 years least gauti and viru are best along with cook strauss

  • bigdhonifan on September 20, 2011, 16:11 GMT

    Why you raina to play Test????? there will be someone like Dravid, who is young... develop him to next level... let Raina play ODI and t20's .that what he is good at!

  • sashi94 on September 20, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    Everyone seems to think that you need to play differently in different formats of the game. How can a player who smashes sixes at will in T20's and ODI's all of a sudden lose his striking ability and start to play like hes never held a bat before? Its not a completely different ball game! Look at Virender Sehwag and his success in all 3 formats of the game. Its because he plays the same no matter which format/ color clothes hes wearing. I think the batting coaches and former players are the ones to blame for telling youngsters to play their natural game in ODI's and T20 and start talking about technique when it comes to tests. The object of the game is to score runs and get the opposition out. If you can score a century in 60 balls in test cricket.. it should not be a crime! You have only helped your team gather runs and given your bowlers more time to get the other guys out! Raina should stop trying to change his game and not think about technique and bla bla bla... and just smash it!

  • on September 20, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    What! Who wants to watch 5 days or even 3 days of cricket? Isnt that boring to begin with? Why dont we play 5 over a side game and maybe extend an over to 8 balls instead of 6 (with no balls counted as normal deliveries with runs given though.) by the way I was just kidding! BCCI ever since ICL started, they took over the 20/20 as IPL and have been earning a ton of money. I am seriously thinking of getting a team of strong healthy wallas who can swing a bat as hard as they can to play some 40 baller games if not 20/20. I am sure anyone will survive and will draw a crowd and more than anything, make some money! This I am serious about!

  • on September 20, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    There is no alternative to the rigors of first class cricket. Pujara is perhaps the best example of everything which Raina isn't. However, Raina does have the talent - all he needs is to put his mind to it. Players like Badrinath have done the hard yards in domestic cricket but haven't stepped up mentally to international duties. Kohli on the other hand, had a far from polished technique when he first came along, but the guy has worked very hard to focus his mind and iron out kinks in his technique. Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma need to train their focus like Kohli, and work hard on their game like Pujara - that'd be the ideal mix.

  • on September 20, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    Raina is a cricketer with flaws and its not that he can't overcome them. The lad is in his early 20s; surely he must remember that. Its not a prob with his batting tech, but a bit to do wi tempramnt, head position and movement of wrists, he should learn how to drop the wrist while ducking and roll them over while hooking. He can always talk to Dravid and Tendulkar as both are pretty good against short stuff. Don't forget, you can't be a great puller or hooker, unless you are a good leaver of a ball. Its shows you know where the red cherry is heading. Even Yuvi is pathetic against good short stuff, so is Sehwag, how come no one talks about that and they are already into their 30s,(Yuvi is almost there). I remember how Tendulkar played for Yorkshire and it really helped him adjust to seam and swing of English Condition, barring this tour, he always had great fun in Eng. Raina will also learn if he plays a bit more in Eng condition aka County. Don't think Kohli and Sharma are any differen

  • on September 20, 2011, 15:00 GMT

    @tiger11-that means srinath,kapil and zaheer are best ever!

  • Quazar on September 20, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    Excellent article as always from Dileep. Our young players certainly need to play more FC cricket... be it on A tours outside the subcontinent or county cricket. But the selectors are also to blame for Raina's Test selection... they picked him based on his shorter format exploits. As others have pointed out, Rahane, Pujara and Rohit Sharma have been much superior in FC cricket, and they should have been higher in the Test batting pipeline than Raina. But all of them, including Kohli, need to play a lot more FC cricket over the next 1-2 years while we still have Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman to carry the flag in the Test team.

  • Quazar on September 20, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    Excellent article as always from Dileep. Our young players certainly need to play more FC cricket... be it on A tours outside the subcontinent or county cricket. But the selectors are also to blame for Raina's Test selection... they picked him based on his shorter format exploits. As others have pointed out, Rahane, Pujara and Rohit Sharma have been much superior in FC cricket, and they should have been higher in the Test batting pipeline than Raina. But all of them, including Kohli, need to play a lot more FC cricket over the next 1-2 years while we still have Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman to carry the flag in the Test team.

  • bluebillion on September 20, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    The selectors must start identifying the players who will win us games across all 3 formats over the next few years. I dont see a lot of overlap between the teams for the 3 formats. All isnt so bleak as it currently seems. Bowling will continue to be a pain unless one of these youngsters step up. Tests 15 man squad: Sehwag, Gambhir, Rahul, Sachin, Laxman, Pujara, Dhoni, Zaheer, Ishant, Ojha, Praveen + Bhajji, Sreesanth, Kohli / Rohit, Irfan (please come back to form!!!) ODI: Sehwag, Sachin (until he decides to quit - Rahane to replace him), Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni, Ashwin, Praveen, Zaheer, Aaron + Rahul Sharma, Irfan, Ishant, Rohit T20: Rahane, Parthiv, Kohli, Yuvraj, Rohit, Raina, Dhoni, Rahul Sharma, Ashwin, Praveen, Aaron + Ishant, Irfan, Uthappa, Jadeja I see Kohli, Rohit, Pujara and Rahane as future test players.

  • zico123 on September 20, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    There ought to be superior remuneration or compensation for Test cricketers compared to IPL or CL, if India wants to produce great young test players, otherwise all we would get is good young T20 players

  • zico123 on September 20, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    Rahul Dravid should make more money playing Tests than a Suresh Raina by playing IPL or Gambhir should make more money playing Tests for India than Gambhir by playing IPL for KKR.

  • zico123 on September 20, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    Raina has to skip next 2 IPL seasons, sacrifice the money and play couple of county seasons to get his Test cricket back on track, county cricket will teach him lot of lessons about Test cricket and he will become all round batsman, rather than just a T20 dasher, it is the time for him to decide on his career

  • zico123 on September 20, 2011, 14:19 GMT

    good one, if Raina wants to be a good test batsman as well, if he wants to be the captain of all 3 formats for India in future, he has to play more first class cricket, he has to play county cricket, in compact international schedule the only time he can dedicate to first class cricket/ county cricket is by skipping IPL seasons. it is the time of his career where he has to make the decision whether to go for IPL money or for couple of county seasons to get his Test cricket back on track.

  • on September 20, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    T20 has in some ways has killed players like DRAVID.

    biggest problem is the money in it. the players should be paid about 10 times more for playing TEST than T20.

    WHO WILL WANT TO PLAY 5 DAYS OF TEST CRICKET n EARN LESS THAN THEY WILL GET FOR PLAYING A 4-5 HOURS OF CRICKET?????????? ITS THE HUMAN NATURE , everyone will look for the easy way of achieving their goals.

    till the money paid for T20 is more or even close to what players r paid for test cricket , TEST will be banished. many players like POLLARD will opt for T20 n ODI than TEST CRICKET.

    but not having T20 cricket at all is not the solution.its important to keep the fans interested. it has also helped YOUNG PLAYERS by letting them compete with some of the finest cricketers in the world in tournaments like IPL etc.

  • jonesy2 on September 20, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    its good to here you indian fans wanting the players to be all terrain men. they need to be. you should try and get brad hodge or simon katich to be your batting coach for these up and comers

  • Sankara on September 20, 2011, 13:57 GMT

    It is a pity that none of the current youngsters are playing county cricket. If they did that, they will be much better players of swing bowling and also to a great extent of the the bouncing ball. Same applies to bowlers; instead of getting thwacked around playing IPL in April, they should pack their bags and go to England and fine tune their bowling in different conditions. Money may be lesser but you will certainly come out a better player

  • NRI- on September 20, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    Enough Raina. Like Yuvraj, he averages under 50 in first class cricket where Rohit Sharma and Rahane average above 60. How did Raina jump the queue? Rohit starred in and Raina failed in the ODIs against WI and still he played tests there and then in England. Is he a nephew of a selector? Cook is in a different world. Only Dravid plays a bit like Cook, which is somewhat boring but highly effective. Comparing Raina with Cook is like comparing Unadkat with Wasim Akram. There simply is no basis for such a comparison.

  • salim on September 20, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Spot on Dileep. I don't think Raina's technique or ability is questionable even though it looks awfully like that might be the case. All the young cricketers like Kohli, Raina, Mukund haven't had much experience of first class cricket and like Dhoni mentioned after the Lords test, that the youngsters need the time and exposure to play this format, however missing the point that the exposure and practice time should be part of India's first class calendar and when they graduate to test level, they can do well. I know it doesn't feel like that at the moment because someone like Raina is too special a talent to be wasted. Not to mention his fielding and energy are the same regardless of whether the score reads 50 for 5 or 500 for 3. Like Lara and Greg Chappell said not too long ago, his backfoot technique is eye catching and as good as any one in the modern game. Couldn't have been that bad against the short ball, surely.

  • StatisticsRocks on September 20, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    It's not his talent that I question but his mental strength and his temperament. One cannot be a complete test match player without temperament. Cook is a gr8 example among the current young talent in the world. Raina needs to play county cricket in England and not IPL, only then will he become a much better test player. He is a gr8 fielder but needs a coach or a person to guide him in the right direction. Stop PLaying 20-20 and focus more on test matches.

  • din7 on September 20, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    I don't know what talent some people r talking about. The truth is he's never going to be a test player rather than playing on flat tracks like sehwag does that too to 4 to 5 dropped chances (watch sehwags record outside subcontinent). Sometimes the truth is bitter bue we have to accept it! some1 ajay tells that sehwag is great test player, a great test player is not1 who scores only on flat tracks at home. he is no where near to even be a test player and speaking about average even jayawardene has mor ethan 50avg of no use.

  • Naresh28 on September 20, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Guys I dont think there is too much of problem. Believe me Raina, Rohit Sharma , kohli and Rahane look like good prospects. I have not seen some of the others like Pujara etc India has better chances of fielding two different teams compared to other countries. There are so man talented batsman around to fill the veterans shoes. Its the bowling that is lagging - particularly fast bowling. Something BCCI needs to invest in as we are the laughing stock of other test playing nations. They brand us at poor when its only one aspect of game that needs improving. Remember if the bowlers cant get the wickets then the batsman are put under pressure straight away. Besides Zaheer and Nehra which fast left armers do we have? Ishant and Shreesanth are good right armers. The other pace bowlers are young and have to learn fast. Praveen, Munaf, and recently tried Vinay were too slow. For now Raina is the BEST indian Fielder and will play in all three formats.

  • AjayVijayan on September 20, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    I think Rain is such an aggressive player like Sehwag but doesn't have the hand eye coordination which Sehwag possess so richly. He got far more good technique than Sehwag, but the genius of Sehwag makes him a great Test Player than his ODI and T20s. In Test Matches you should know how to leave alone deliveries also...Leaving is as good as Playing in Test Matches especially on pitches of ENG, RSA, NZ etc... And the problem of Rain is .. his temperament....... U got to have sound character and skills leave alone temperament to excel in Test Matches.... which is why Test Matches are the bench mark of a good player.....

  • buntyj on September 20, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    yes ring fencing test team/lomgform domestic would help, n yes rahane n pujara have to me looked more likely to make decent test batsmen then others but they too could do with a full county season each as also if possible a club season down under (helped jimmy amarnath) in durban, perth, brisbane or melbourne; they still have certain frailties (compared top 5 india snrs) which i believe such exposure at this point could iron out. yes, i think raina, mukund, kohli could also benefit from such exposure though perhaps not as much as rahane/pujara;while in med term improving pitches, strengthening dom cricket, having reg u19 and a tours and more tour matches would help, in short term best if bcci pays players to play full county season or downunder club season. no i dont think its only in the mind and i dont think being assured of place irrespective of performance can be the answer;

  • annys on September 20, 2011, 11:33 GMT

    Let Raina,Rohit,ajinkya,manoj,manish,virat,mukund,mithun,vinay,rp,ishanth,aswin,amit play one season of county cricket and tour south australia as a india A team then u see the difference in these guys, let kumble,Ganguly be the team directors

  • jonesy2 on September 20, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    raina needs to go to the shaun marsh school of taking your limited overs talents to the test area

  • ram_indian on September 20, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    That is the diffference between limited overs / T20 and test cricket. In ltd over cricket, you will get weaker links who will bowl, flatter pitches, incentive to go for big shots, and spread fields. Coming to lively wickets, bouncers etc., given the amount of limited overs cricket that is played in sub-continent, it wont prepare the player to tougher enviroments. While, in tests..there is no reason for no-regular bowlers to bowl, and bowlers will have close in fielders to get the batsmen out..so, it is wrong to conclude that someone who is good in one format can automatically translate that to the other. Yuvraj also, falls in the same category..of course, it can be overcome by hard work..

  • A.Ak on September 20, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    The only way he knows how to play cricket is hit every ball (similar to YPathan, Yuvi, Shewag...), but Shewag has managed play long innings in that way. But others couldn't. You you look at great players like Dravid and Sachin, they are patient and play according to the merit of the ball. If it is a good ball, then defend or leave. Punish the bad balls. If we look at how Raina player is 42 ball double duck, he just tried to defend all, which is totally out of nature and he did that to almost every ball. Once he lost patience he tried to slog a few and ended his innings. On the other side Swann he closer and closer to perfection and few Raina lost his mind, he picked up. The current generation has no patience. Raina's game naturally suits shorter formats, not where playing long which matters. India ave lots of potentials, but they are not using them. For ex, Badrinath, he is so good at staying at crease and have the experience.

  • Navin_Thakur on September 20, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    Given the amount of cricket India is playing, I think BCCI should seriously ponder about grooming two if not three sets of specialised players from the available pool of players. My wish list for the pool of players for each formats:

    T20/ODIs - Batters - Manish Pandey, Manoj Tiwari, M. Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Raina, Yuvraj, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ambati Rayudu, Saurabh Tiwari

    WK - MSD, Dinesh Karthick

    All Rounders - Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan

    Spinners - Bhajji, Ashwin, Rahul Sharma

    Pace Bowlers - Nehra, Munaf, PK, Mithun, S. Aravind, Pankaj Singh

    Tests - Batters - Gautam Gambhir (C), Sehwag, Mukund, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Rahane, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit (would have loved to see Badri here, but I guess his chances are over)

    WK- Pathiv Patel/ MSD

    All Rounders - You got be kidding

    Spinners - Ashwin, Ojha, Mishra

    Medium Pacers - Zaheer, Ishant, Sreeshanth, Unadkat, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Mithun

  • Rahul_78 on September 20, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    Raina do not need a Gavaskar or Boycott to teach him how to play short ball. If there is not enough talent there then for nothing he was feasting on English ballers in ODIs. He has some mental issues that needs to be sorted out. Someone needs to free his minds from all the doubts and fears that are clouding his abilities in test cricket. There is definite issue with his technic of handling a short ball on spicy pitches in test matches but with all his talent and abilities he should be able to overcome that. Ganguly the modern indian great never had a great technic to play short and sharp fast balling but he did manage to overcome that. Indian administration and fans should understand that he posses a rare talent..it need careful handling and someone needs to carve the rough edges for Raina.

  • Scube on September 20, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    @kashmniazi, what have u got against poor Bevan! He's the ultimate ODI finisher who had amazingly won many a matches for the Aussies shepherding the tailenders! I can't think of Raina playing one such innings while he has indeed played good supporting roles in many Indian ODI victories! But, if your point is that Raina is suited only for ODIS & T20s, it's definitely the case atleast with his current temperament, thanks to IPL!

  • GRAMMY_SACHIN on September 20, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    Raina is a great talent and we should not dump him from test. He is the future captain in all formats. We don't need to worry about his ODI & T20 credentials. In test matches, though he did struggle, he still played a gem of an innings in the Lords Test in the 2nd Innings to score a useful 70 odd. With some luck, he would have actually saved India in that match (like SRT did in Old Trafford in 1990). He does have problem with short pitched deliveries like Steve Waugh, but i am 100% sure that he will come out on top and become a better test batsman. He should change his mindset and play Gilly in Test Matches also. He will be an useful guy whi can bat at No.6 for India and can have an average of 45 with Strike Rate of 85 in Tests. His problem is 25% Technique & 75% in the mind. But this guy has envious temperament & we have to back him for atleast 3 more years. If he still fails, then label him as Michel Bevan of India. Goof Luck Raina You will ROCK !!

  • kashmniazi on September 20, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Indian board and fans need to understand and accept the fact that test match cricket is immensely different from the shorter versions. While there are some great players who can adapt to any type of cricket easily, there are others who find it extremely difficult to adjust and therefore, they excel in one form but struggle in the other. So, its not necessary to have same players for all formats of the game. Some countries arrived at this conclusion long ago and as a result, they excelled in all formats. In my opinion, Raina, Yuvraj and Kohli should only be selected for the shorter versions of cricket.

  • CricFreax on September 20, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    I think the problem is that cricketer has been classified as openers, middle order and hitters. So what is happening the mindset has been converted to play only one kind of cricket where as the players should understand they are going to play a game of cricket rather any other thing. The system should help the players to understand that everyone should know to face all kind of scenarios.In fact the people also consider a good game player like Raina to be only a hitter which gets fixed in the mind of players and they are forced to play what the crowd require him to to rather than conecntrating on the game. we ourselves apart from unhelping board are the ones who disturb them and waste the talents.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on September 20, 2011, 10:01 GMT

    There's nothing wrong with Raina. He played the 2nd innings of the Test at Lords very well and was India's top scorer. It's just that he went into the shell in the subsequent tests and got out to stupid deliveries from bowlers he would normally never get out to. If something was wrong with him, so was something wrong with Laxman, Sachin, Gambhir and Sehwag, all of whom struggled far more miserably. I hope the sports writers and commentators give Raina a break from their absurd analysis and reading of talent.

  • kashmniazi on September 20, 2011, 9:52 GMT

    Raina is India's Michael Bevan; and he should be treated likewise by BCCI.

  • Prats6 on September 20, 2011, 9:38 GMT

    Its too early to comment on Raina. His success in ODI's & T20's should not be held against him. He is still young and a lot to learn. Lets not be over critical of him. He has flaws and he needs to work on those, who does not?

  • on September 20, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    if u want a test match batsman, look no further then Ajinkya Rahane, he showed in the one day series that he can play at the top level and he has a much better 1st class record then raina

  • SamRoy on September 20, 2011, 9:32 GMT

    Dileep, have you forgotten what Raina's first class average is? 42... if i am correct. what is Yuvraj's first class average? around 45... these numbers don't lie.. don't expect them to be averaging 45 in tests...not possible unless you have the class of sangakkara or michael vaughan (not in sanga's league) can one actually improve on their first class record.

  • zain29 on September 20, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    I think the answer to whether he is a quality international player is very simple. Someone who has such a tough time negotiating short-pitched bowling, is not - plain and simple. This transversing between various formats (T20, 50 over & Test Cricket) just to prove that somebody has talent, is a little ridiculous. The basic meter for judging quality will always be the 5-day arena.

  • Herbet on September 20, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    An excellent article, sums up basically the travails facing all young Indian batsmen who will be attempting to crack test cricket in the next few years. Basically, they are brought up on T20 and 50 over games, and the pitches are such in India that a 50 over game is just an extended T20. To keep their place in a team they need to learn to slog, get the front foot out the way, play in the air, back away to leg - basically all the stuff that gets you out in First Class cricket. And when they do play the longer stuff, they play on pitches that are so low that they never learn to play bounce. People can say "oh, Raina can play the short ball, he can slog it out the ground, he just cant defend it", can he slog it though? In a T20, when only 2 players are out the circle he can, and chaces are there wont be a fielder to catch it, but in proper cricket, the captain can place his fielders at deep square leg and let him hit them straight to the trap. Thats the trouble, T20 makes you look good.

  • AnshulNagar on September 20, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    wht i cant understand is why we r trying to push ppl who have established themselves as one day specialists, to play tests. ppl like raina , yuvraj shd not be given an extended run in tests only bcoz they have played some outstanding t20 n odi cricket. Raina shd be encouraged 2 play his natural game in t20 n odi n if he deserves n plays some long innings in domestic n county cricket he shd be given a chance in tests. we shdnt outcaste some cricketer from any form n also shd nt favour someone just bcoz we thk he can be the next'Brian Charles Lara'.

  • on September 20, 2011, 8:45 GMT

    Raina is not a test player, maybe on flat pitches but not anywhere else

  • on September 20, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    i think there is a fundmental difference here. If you look at players like Raina and Yuvraj who are very good in the limited over versions and look at their domestic first class averages, you will see that these are hovering in the 40s, where as if you take players like Pujara, Rohit Sharma their first class averages are hovering in the 50s. Surely v can have players who are good in different formats. For tests v shud give priorities to playesr who have done well in first class domestic and not in international ODIs and T20s.

  • arvindsrin on September 20, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    The problem against pace is affecting all facets of his batting. See the number of times he got out to Swann playing tentatively. Despite the poor performance in the West Indies I think Virat Kohli is a far better bet as a test player.

  • buntyj on September 20, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    pps- and then selection- test selection should ordinarily not be on the basis of performance first in short form- we lost out on sriram, venu, badri because they tried to adjust their games to short form to get a crack at tests and lost some of the longform technique; test selection must be on basis of selection on performance in robust domestic first class on a variety of tracks (if we had 1 fast track, 1 spinner, 1 green seamer, 1 flat reverse swinger, 1 slow uneven bounce we would expose r players greater variety than elsewhere). how can we asap make domestic cricket more robust? simplest/quickest is to revive duleep trophy on home n away league basis with compulsory participation by seniors too with top2 teams playing final or league topper playing last years champs in final; players missing out - play an all duleep xi vs others (if certain stronger zones had players who missed out), play a 4- 5 days india seniors vs india u-23 to identify youngsters more suited to longform;

  • Horus on September 20, 2011, 8:28 GMT

    If only Raina gets to play, what happens to other more balanced players like Pujara? they suffer because Raina has the blessings of Dhoni

  • buntyj on September 20, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    ps- also we cant change culture/shut the barn door now- indian cricket especially the short form is a route to money, fame , status; we need to make the long form, especially tests nearly equally lucrative, perhaps even by cross subsidisation (though enough money from tv rights for tests?); domestic longform n tests they should re popularise if necessary by free entry to grounds. and lets be honest indian crickets weaknesses are not limited to longform- we ve done nothing to improve our pitches- this is reflected in the few quality bowlers produced and not only the worse averages but also poor comparative strike rates especially away of our leading bowlers to date; if they cant produce a fast track whats wrong in some matches being played on mats instead of turf (jute encourages movement through cutters and coir encourages bounce- dravid early on credited his ability to cope with bounce to having played on coir mats when growing up)-

  • Vivek.Bhandari on September 20, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    I remember reading that article in Wisden Cricketer in 04-05. But now I'm unable to find it in the archives. Can somebody please provide some link, if any. I'm curious to see how others have fared in the time period.

  • buntyj on September 20, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    after a longtime a really good article by dileep. very well written and youve opened the hornets nest. btw those who say raina can hit the short balll- well why dont we see those hits in tests in windies/eng- playing 1 short ball per over couple of overs on belters is far removed from playing persistent quick short balls from 4 quality tall fm bowlers on pitches with even a hint of juice though personally i feel raina has tried to work on his game and wont always face a quality fm attack as in eng- he did score some runs in windies where the quicker bowlers were not tall and the tall bowler was only medium. but he will fail vs quality pace attacks. but, dileep, you are right we can only groom test players from a tough competitive first class structure played on a variety of tracks; but the preference for short formats is now built into the schools cricket which needs to revert to long format too;

  • sg05 on September 20, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    raina is a star player in t20& odi's but in tests he had to learn a lot,this is not right time for him to play test.rohit or yuvi better choice now only.

  • Gilliana on September 20, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    I fear for the future of test cricket in India so long as the short form of the game prevails. Those youngsters that have the talent to be of test class must make great monetary sacrifices by avoiding the shorter form of the game. If such be the case of a kid that is willing to go all the way to establish himself as a test class batsman ignoring the temptation of big money then it is the duty of the cricket boards to nurture him to meet his expectations and compensate him fairly for his loss.

  • on September 20, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Raina you are beauty,you are next Sachin.take a advice from Your HERO Dravid and learn how to play test cricket.once you get nobody can't stop you......ALL THE BEST for your test cricket future RAINA.

  • Vipins on September 20, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    Raina is a inevitable member of the team....Its true that he needs a bit more to prove in the longer format of the game...he is a team man...brilliant fielder... he beats the likes of tendulakr and dravids in his commitment & feilding....

  • ansh316 on September 20, 2011, 7:45 GMT

    Best way forward for India is to send players like Raina,Kohli,Rohit Sharma,Badri,Mukund,Rahane to County Cricket.Playing 3-4 days cricket will do them and Indian team a world of good.

  • ian_ghose on September 20, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    @Hotu Chainani - Interesting comparisons there! I'd say Sehwag is perhaps the most glorified flat track bully of our times (probably of all time). And I don't mean that as an insult to either of the two. You do need players like these on flat Indian tracks to score runs quickly and seize the initiative. However, its on tracks with a bit of juice, that these players fail. Ideally you would need someone who could excel in all kinds of conditions, and such players are very rare. So, you make do with what you have. The thing with Raina is, that he's being probably forced to be someone that he isn't. In T20's and List A (ODI's) he can get away with slogging many a times. Even if he fails to connect properly, the ball falls safely, or mis-hits go to the boundary. In test cricket on juicy wickets, the percentages are much more in favour of bowlers. Maybe India should play him in Tests only in the subcontinent, just like they play more spinners on the subcontinent.

  • Tom_Bowler on September 20, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    FTB plain and simple. It's all well and good whacking the ball around when you have small boundaries and fielding restrictions but he does not look like a Test player at all. It's not only his inability to play the short ball, which I think is more technical than due to the outright phyiscial fear displayed by Yuvraj, but he can't play spin either, replay his delicious skewering by Swann at the Oval. Basically if the dice aren't unfairly loaded in his favour he's not got the game to succeed. Stick to being a "legend" in limited overs if there is such a thing.

  • on September 20, 2011, 7:20 GMT

    In his first Test appearance he scored a century and people are talking rubbish. Do not kill his career please.

  • FAB_ALI on September 20, 2011, 7:15 GMT

    The main cause behind Raina's failure is the failure of top order batsmen. If the top order gets a steady start and provide a platform, Raina would come in with a positive mindset and can play his natural game. But when the top order fails, he has to go in with a defensive mindset something which he is not comfortable with and then he struggles. I m sure there is no problem with Raina in tests if the top five can do their job.

  • on September 20, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Raina is a worthy all rounder. He saves about 50 runs in the field. He can bowl and bat at any position try him as an opener.

  • on September 20, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    I dont think the problem lies in technique ....... his problem is his uncertainty for playing a short ball...... In ODIs and T20s hes sure that he has to hit such balls out of the park......... But in Tests he keeps on waiting fr short balls and yet nt sure weather to leave or play...... and being tentative in that...... he is loosing his front foot strokes.... by not coming forward........ Its just some1 has to clear his mind....... may be Duncan is right man to have........ i m sure raina is big prospect... and it will be sad if he dont score atleast 8k-9k runs in Tests......

  • cricarnab on September 20, 2011, 6:59 GMT

    I remember reading that article and how a certain Indian newspaper had picked off the line- The next Tendulkar as their headline. At that time, even I was thrilled. Raina, if anyone remembers, seemed to have the right technique. Infact, he was a steadily improved cricketer, with a dream run in the Asia cup in pakistan. But ever since the IPL and T20 started, things have gone downhill. I think, it is time that the world's richest board, and one of the worlds richest sporting bodies, with annual profits of $33.29 million start making test cricket as lucrative as ODI and T20. It can be very easily done in India. If a cricketer like Cheteshwar Pujara, Badrinath, Rahane and the likes are given the same for playing tests and 1st class as T20, then we will find that these talented and exceptional players will have the mental peace to concerntrate on the rigours of test cricket. Raina is too far gone. At least lets save the rest.

  • Stone-Aamir on September 20, 2011, 6:47 GMT

    This the typical problem that Indian cricket is presently facing. Unncessary promotion is given to limited overs cricket where on the flat wickets bowler just act as waiters serving dishes. But when the pitch start helping bowlers, all the flat track bullies becomes minnows. This promotion and media hype about that limited over cricket attracts the youngsters more and they try to develop the habits of stroking every ball to improve slogging skills. The young indian batsman can play larger variety of strokes on a ball then Dravid or Gavaskar but they dont know how and when to leave a ball if the conditions are helping it to move.

  • Naresh28 on September 20, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    Raina is future captain. I would not call him a flat track bully. He needs time as it appears as those he is tentative when test match batting. Once he matures he will be different as he will know the difference between the two formats. For now he and Dhoni have got a good understanding when batting together. He is certainly an exceptional fielder and can bowl as well. His value to India is high!!!!!

  • on September 20, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    Some on like Jimmy Amarnath should be talking to Raina, and help him with his technique against the rising ball. Suresh Raina is an exceptional talent, and on his day will put any attack to the swoerd, in all formats of the game. He is probably as dangerous as Virendra Sehwag.

  • sweetspot on September 20, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    Raina is coming to his own just when Test cricket itself is on the decline. I wouldn't want to lose a stroke making gem like Raina to the "grind" of Test cricket. I want to see Raina the monster hitter with a strike rate of around 165 in blue clothes, the finisher, the pulverizer of attacks. I really don't want to see Raina bother too much with this five day nonsense that some of us are still pretending to be something important. Sports are for fun, not just to show character. Test cricket has lost its charm and hopefully that demon won't steal some ODI and T20 gems with it when it goes down. Enough already with this short ball conversation. Who cares? Bresnan didn't even have to bowl short to be deposited by Raina in the stands in every single ODI. Does that make Bresnan a useless ODI bowler?

  • kasyapm on September 20, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    A lot of valid points in the article. I only wish someone with a more domestic experience and record (like Pujara) will become a regular in the test arena. Wouldn't like to see Raina getting dropped though, that might dent his confidence.

  • on September 20, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    It is very simple. Raina has not been taught by the old school, where the players are asked to play within the V till they are sure about the basic things like behavior of the pitch, movement of the ball in the air, confidence level of the bowler etc.

    The only player who religiously follows this fundamental principle is Rahul Dravid. That is why he is respected by opponents. They would like to get his wicket early, lest once he crosses thirty/forty runs it is impossible to dislodge him. The top bowlers say you can hope to get Sachin out any time but not Dravid once he crosses thirty.

  • koi1 on September 20, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    Raina is a flat track bully ... plain and simple. its a problem that afflicts most subcontinental batsman. same goes for Yuvraj. Rahane on the other hand is someone who will shine across all formats in all conditions

  • on September 20, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    I like his temperament. Can he tighten technique?

  • on September 20, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    those who say raina cannot play the short ball know nothing about his game. His problem is just defending or getting out of the way of a short ball. Hitting them out of the park is not his problem. Most of the times it comes off good, sometimes he misses and even lesser times he gets out to the short ball. His problem is really when he tries to defend the short ball especially in a test match because of the defensive mindset. He either needs to play his natural game in test matches and score some quick runs down the order or just stick with the shorter format.

  • Alexk400 on September 20, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    Paul valthaty is way better than Raina

  • Owls on September 20, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    After the IPL, it is high time that the selectors started thinking of having different teams for the different formats. Test cricket is all about technique and the ability to play the short, swinging or the spinning ball is of utmost importance. The likes of Raina, Yuvraj, Vijay, to a certain extent Kohli are certainly not players who can fit into this category. So why keep playing them and embarrassing them. They have talent but unfortunately are not cut out for the test cricket. A lot has been talked about Ashwin as well but I have not seen him spin the ball much and so am not sure if the cry to bring him into the test side is a valid one. But this does not mean giving Bhajji a free hand to perform below expectations. Another point is the bench strength. Put a cap on the number of matches a player can play (domestic and international separately). This will force the players to take a break and will also force grooming of the youngsters / newcomers.

  • on September 20, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    Raina is very good player no doubt about that he s very good batsmen in ODI n t20 format.In test format he s still learning we cant blame him for failure n eng test series bcz the experience player like sachin,laxman also failed.but eng series s good lesson for young player like raina But he will bounce back with his perfomance in upcoming series.Now forget abt that and enjoy his battingi n t20 champions league.At last i wish him All the best RAINA

  • on September 20, 2011, 4:48 GMT

    who did miracles in the ODI series??????? Raina certainly is a good player in ODI and i am sure that he is that he would excel in test cricket too!!!! lets see now in Champpions League Twenty Twenty!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gupta.Ankur on September 20, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    I think Raina's frailties against dhort-ball is known, but you cannot forever overlook his other good performances....

    He is a good batsmen, who needs to fine tune his technique.....

  • maddy20 on September 20, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    The BCCI is too blind to picke some fantastic players due to regional BIAS. Lest Cheteswar Pujara, Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhimanyu Mithun(for tests only) are all potential matchwinners on their day!

  • Percy_Fender on September 20, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    Raina is not so much of a sound technique as he is of hand eye co-ordination. He is more like Sehwag I feel. Probably the difference may be in the strength of the heart and mind. From the way he moves to short pitched bowling I get the impression that he is hesitant or fearful. When Sehwag is not in control of the short ball he just takes the blow and that is it.Mohinder Amarnath even after he had played the likes of Holding and Roberts in West Indies,was suspect to short pitched bowling.Against Australia in 1979,I remember him having been shown up be Rod Hogg.Then he was dropped,went back and came back as one of the greatest hookers and pullers of the game.He would play some daring hooks against the likes of Marshall and Holding.Saurav Ganguly was initially a good hooker.Then somehow he lost the plot and was said to be suspect against the short ball.But both Jimmy and Saurav were very tough. I am hopeful that Raina will get over this failing of his because he is otherwise a good bat.

  • on September 20, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    @ landl47 that "He relies on hand-eye coordination, flashing hard and finding gaps between fielders spread out in the outfield. That works in one-day cricket, but in tests, where the bowlers are attacking and there are close fielders to take the edges and mishits, Raina struggles." This is a point of the article. The technique of Raina has adapted to one day format given the amount of he plays. He has adpated to flash hard and sqeezing gaps, i.e. scoring as much as run as fast as possible. But you cant argue that he is naturally talented like the likes of rahane, pujara and Kohli. Thats where the nature nurture part of the argument comes in. I guess way forward for india right now is to completely blood the likes of pujara and rahane given the first class matches they have played and accustom likes of Kohli and Raina to first class cricket. But the probing question is, Do they care enough for bigger format to take this step?

  • annys on September 20, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    People say Raina is not good test player let see how many of the best england test batsmen are good one day batsmen or t20 batsmen

    cook -just started performing in odis, not a great t20 player strauss- poor in odi,poor in t20 trott-not a great t20 player ,decent in odi pietersen -failure in odi,decent in t20 bell-poor in odi,poor in t20 MORGAN- poor in tests,good in odi,good in t20

    this reveals a lot :)

    also who are the best odi and t20 batsmen in the world today

    raina,dhoni,yusuf,gayle, pollard, afridi,dilshan

    how many of these are great test batsmen :) none

    who r the best test batsmen in the world today

    Dravid,Cook,Trott,Bell,Prior,pietersen, strauss,hussey,laxman,sachin,sehwag

    how many of these are great in odis and t20's of today :)

    So i think as the Dileep says we should back Raina for a while atleast :)

  • denfern on September 20, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    If Raina wants to continue to play test cricket in the future he has got to improve his technique against the short ball. Would be good is he could get to play a couple seasons of County cricket. In fact all the upcoming youngsters have got to learn to play the short stuff on bouncy pitches at home. But then when will the BCCI ever learn......

  • landl47 on September 20, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    There's a lot of truth to this article. Raina's technique does not emphasize the straight bat, the bat-pad forward defensive or the ability to sway away from the short ball (for a lesson in all these, watch Dravid). He relies on hand-eye coordination, flashing hard and finding gaps between fielders spread out in the outfield. That works in one-day cricket, but in tests, where the bowlers are attacking and there are close fielders to take the edges and mishits, Raina struggles. A number of young Indian players have similar issues- it's apparent, for instance, that Rahane has no cover-drive; he simply has no shot to the good length ball outside off stump except a feeble poke. One of the reasons England's young players look to have much sounder technique is that they still play a lot of first-class cricket (England's bowlers, on the other hand, don't do so well in the shorter formats because they are not used to bowling defensively). No doubt it will all sort itself out in the end.

  • on September 20, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    Dileep - good analysis and thoughtful points. The same holds true for our bowlers. I think it's time we had a separate unit for tests and limited overs cricket. Because we as a nation will never get over the thrills of One Day and T20. Simultaneously, we need to groom batsmen and bowlers with the mindset of a dravid while encouraging a few like Sehwag. While they may be diametrically opposite in terms of style, they carry the same attitude and hunger into a test match. It is not the technique we need to iron out, it is the mindset and the attitude. The simplest way to get those right are to make them play as many 3 day or 4 day games as possible. And this will have to come before they play in Indian colours.

  • harshalb on September 20, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    Bottom line is Raina cannot play the short ball or swinging ball. He ain't no batsman.

  • CricFan78 on September 20, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    Frankly I am not too worried about Raina failing in England. Not many have succeeded there at first instance and this is fairly good English attack , probably their best in last 30 odd years. I will however look in fturue as to how he will learn from this and become a better Test player. I dont think India should lose faith him as he has time and again shown that he is good player under pressure. He did quite well in WI in Tests when lot of other batsmen failed. Lastly we all know how Steve Waugh fared in his early Test career against short ball despite having terrific start to his ODI career much like Raina. Its not the failure which counts but how you rise from that failure does. I am sure Raina will be a successful cricketer both in Tests and ODIs ten years down the line because if he doesnt it would be big shame on Indian cricket not to capitalise to such a talent.

  • sshadab on September 20, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    I strongly believe that Raina's perceived weakness to short pitch bowling in test match is more in the mind than anything else. An analogy here would be with Federer who has lost the battle against Nadal in his mind even before entering the tennis court, if you see his game against other top players like Djoko and Murray it is completely different as against Nadal. For me Raina is one of the few all-round packages we have, who can bat, bowl, field and has leadership qualities as well. He has the talent and needs to be persisted with. The best thing that can happen to Raina at least in test cricket is that, the board and captain should tell him to forget that he has batted in 15 odd tests and consider that his next test as his debut match. Leave the baggage behind and play your game, if you lose your wicket against short-pitched bowling so be it, but we will continue to back you. He is our future along with the Kohli's, Rahane's and Pujara's and should be persisted.

  • on September 20, 2011, 3:11 GMT

    BCCI is spoiling exceptional talents like Raina by dragging him into IPL and CLT20. If he doesn't play those, he would be the next Sachin Tendulkar for India.

  • on September 20, 2011, 3:07 GMT

    Raina is a good player in ODI. Certainly he will improve in test matches also.All the Best Raina.

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  • on September 20, 2011, 3:07 GMT

    Raina is a good player in ODI. Certainly he will improve in test matches also.All the Best Raina.

  • on September 20, 2011, 3:11 GMT

    BCCI is spoiling exceptional talents like Raina by dragging him into IPL and CLT20. If he doesn't play those, he would be the next Sachin Tendulkar for India.

  • sshadab on September 20, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    I strongly believe that Raina's perceived weakness to short pitch bowling in test match is more in the mind than anything else. An analogy here would be with Federer who has lost the battle against Nadal in his mind even before entering the tennis court, if you see his game against other top players like Djoko and Murray it is completely different as against Nadal. For me Raina is one of the few all-round packages we have, who can bat, bowl, field and has leadership qualities as well. He has the talent and needs to be persisted with. The best thing that can happen to Raina at least in test cricket is that, the board and captain should tell him to forget that he has batted in 15 odd tests and consider that his next test as his debut match. Leave the baggage behind and play your game, if you lose your wicket against short-pitched bowling so be it, but we will continue to back you. He is our future along with the Kohli's, Rahane's and Pujara's and should be persisted.

  • CricFan78 on September 20, 2011, 3:41 GMT

    Frankly I am not too worried about Raina failing in England. Not many have succeeded there at first instance and this is fairly good English attack , probably their best in last 30 odd years. I will however look in fturue as to how he will learn from this and become a better Test player. I dont think India should lose faith him as he has time and again shown that he is good player under pressure. He did quite well in WI in Tests when lot of other batsmen failed. Lastly we all know how Steve Waugh fared in his early Test career against short ball despite having terrific start to his ODI career much like Raina. Its not the failure which counts but how you rise from that failure does. I am sure Raina will be a successful cricketer both in Tests and ODIs ten years down the line because if he doesnt it would be big shame on Indian cricket not to capitalise to such a talent.

  • harshalb on September 20, 2011, 3:42 GMT

    Bottom line is Raina cannot play the short ball or swinging ball. He ain't no batsman.

  • on September 20, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    Dileep - good analysis and thoughtful points. The same holds true for our bowlers. I think it's time we had a separate unit for tests and limited overs cricket. Because we as a nation will never get over the thrills of One Day and T20. Simultaneously, we need to groom batsmen and bowlers with the mindset of a dravid while encouraging a few like Sehwag. While they may be diametrically opposite in terms of style, they carry the same attitude and hunger into a test match. It is not the technique we need to iron out, it is the mindset and the attitude. The simplest way to get those right are to make them play as many 3 day or 4 day games as possible. And this will have to come before they play in Indian colours.

  • landl47 on September 20, 2011, 3:52 GMT

    There's a lot of truth to this article. Raina's technique does not emphasize the straight bat, the bat-pad forward defensive or the ability to sway away from the short ball (for a lesson in all these, watch Dravid). He relies on hand-eye coordination, flashing hard and finding gaps between fielders spread out in the outfield. That works in one-day cricket, but in tests, where the bowlers are attacking and there are close fielders to take the edges and mishits, Raina struggles. A number of young Indian players have similar issues- it's apparent, for instance, that Rahane has no cover-drive; he simply has no shot to the good length ball outside off stump except a feeble poke. One of the reasons England's young players look to have much sounder technique is that they still play a lot of first-class cricket (England's bowlers, on the other hand, don't do so well in the shorter formats because they are not used to bowling defensively). No doubt it will all sort itself out in the end.

  • denfern on September 20, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    If Raina wants to continue to play test cricket in the future he has got to improve his technique against the short ball. Would be good is he could get to play a couple seasons of County cricket. In fact all the upcoming youngsters have got to learn to play the short stuff on bouncy pitches at home. But then when will the BCCI ever learn......

  • annys on September 20, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    People say Raina is not good test player let see how many of the best england test batsmen are good one day batsmen or t20 batsmen

    cook -just started performing in odis, not a great t20 player strauss- poor in odi,poor in t20 trott-not a great t20 player ,decent in odi pietersen -failure in odi,decent in t20 bell-poor in odi,poor in t20 MORGAN- poor in tests,good in odi,good in t20

    this reveals a lot :)

    also who are the best odi and t20 batsmen in the world today

    raina,dhoni,yusuf,gayle, pollard, afridi,dilshan

    how many of these are great test batsmen :) none

    who r the best test batsmen in the world today

    Dravid,Cook,Trott,Bell,Prior,pietersen, strauss,hussey,laxman,sachin,sehwag

    how many of these are great in odis and t20's of today :)

    So i think as the Dileep says we should back Raina for a while atleast :)

  • on September 20, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    @ landl47 that "He relies on hand-eye coordination, flashing hard and finding gaps between fielders spread out in the outfield. That works in one-day cricket, but in tests, where the bowlers are attacking and there are close fielders to take the edges and mishits, Raina struggles." This is a point of the article. The technique of Raina has adapted to one day format given the amount of he plays. He has adpated to flash hard and sqeezing gaps, i.e. scoring as much as run as fast as possible. But you cant argue that he is naturally talented like the likes of rahane, pujara and Kohli. Thats where the nature nurture part of the argument comes in. I guess way forward for india right now is to completely blood the likes of pujara and rahane given the first class matches they have played and accustom likes of Kohli and Raina to first class cricket. But the probing question is, Do they care enough for bigger format to take this step?