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'I want to play at least 80 Tests'

Suresh Raina may have made his name as a short-form specialist but it's the five-day game he wants to leave his mark on - question marks over technique or not

Nitin Sundar

January 15, 2012

Comments: 74 | Text size: A | A

Suresh Raina steers through point, England v India, 1st Test, Lord's, 5th day, July 25, 2011
"I know I am good enough to make a comeback, and it has got all to do with the mental approach" © Getty Images

Suresh Raina's Test career, according to some, is as good as over. Everyone has an opinion on his phobia of bouncers, and how it contributed to his dismissals in England. The last rites may be administered by full-length deliveries, but the short ball has already done for him mentally, they say.

Raina could choose to respond to his critics by reeling off stats that tell a slightly different tale. He could point to the 78 tough runs he made at Lord's, weathering England's No. 1 bowler, James Anderson, in the middle of his best spell of the summer. He could point to his exemplary performance in the Tests in the West Indies, in conditions where India didn't get to 300 even once. He can point out that Graeme Swann's offspin dismissed him more often in England than the short stuff did. Several cricketers are known to take refuge in the comfort of numbers, but Raina isn't one of them. "I am not going to offer any excuses," he says of his shortcomings. "Yes, I failed in England and everyone has spoken about my technique. It wasn't for lack of preparation - we went to West Indies straight after the World Cup and the IPL. Many seniors missed that tour, but I was lucky to play all three Tests, and scored fifties in each of those matches. I was ready for England, but for some reason things did not work out."

Raina is also acutely aware of the poor luck that has dogged him. He was denied the benefit of doubt on a stumping call in the first innings at The Oval, and given lbw off an inside edge in the second. History, however, will only remember that Raina made a pair in that Test. Remind him of it and he smiles before pointing out that the misfortune began in the West Indies itself. "In the Jamaica Test, I was batting well with Rahul [Dravid] in the second innings when Daryl Harper gave me out caught off the pad," he recalls. In the next Test, in Barbados, he had made a fifty after India were 38 for 4. "I thought I can score a big hundred, but Asad Rauf gave me another wrong decision. And then there was The Oval.

"But you can't complain about these things. I know I wasn't up to the mark in England. I know I am good enough to make a comeback, and it has got all to do with the mental approach. I have confidence in my technique."

The solutions to Raina's problems aren't easily apparent. His regular presence in India's one-day side restricted his involvement in the current Ranji Trophy to just four matches. He hit his maiden double-century in the season opener, but runs on India's dustbowls aren't the best indicators of an improving technique against bounce. Raina believes that retooling his game in foreign conditions will equip him better to deal with his failings. India's packed limited-overs schedule and the BCCI's reluctance to grant its players permission to take on assignments in county cricket, though, will make that difficult.

"I am enjoying my form right now and want to play as much as I can abroad, even if it is not international cricket," Raina says. "I wish I can go and play county cricket, since that will improve my confidence and approach. At my age I need to play more and more matches in different conditions. But there's not much time given the amount of international cricket. First you have the one-dayers in Australia, which I expect to play, then the Asia Cup, the IPL for one and a half months, and a tour of Sri Lanka."

Raina was in impressive form on the ODI leg of the England tour, often slamming the pacy short balls that had him hopping in the Tests to the midwicket boundary. There were fewer bouncers and close-in catchers to contend with, allowing him to enjoy the freedom that has come to characterise his short-form batting, but he was also helped by having been in England for nearly three months by the time the ODIs began. Raina hopes he has enough time to get used to the conditions before the tri-series in Australia, where he has yet to play an international game; he is hoping to be able to go over early and play some practice games before the one-dayers.

"I have spoken to Duncan [Fletcher] about this," he says. "I have also had a lot of talk with Andy Bichel [who is part of the coaching set-up at Raina's Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise] about what to expect in Australia, and to get mentally prepared."

For India, the Test leg of the Australia tour has begun in a fashion worryingly reminiscent of the England tour. Virat Kohli has struggled after replacing Raina at No. 6, but batsmen far more experienced have also looked out of their depth. Raina believes the youngsters need to be persisted with, regardless of teething troubles, and made to play alongside their more illustrious team-mates in order to facilitate the eventual change of guard.

"You need to rely on juniors," Raina says. "Virat, Rohit [Sharma] and myself have done well in one-dayers, but it is Test cricket that is always in your mind. I have learned a lot from all the great players, like Sachin paaji, Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni, and even from Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly.

"I have never seen Dhoni sledge, whatever the situation, and that's an important lesson for a youngster. These players are so focused, mentally composed, and they never panic. They are all great believers in work ethic, and you pick up these habits when you play with them."

As far as fielding goes, Raina is the one teaching the others the good habits. While the new crop of cricketers has visibly lifted India's fielding standards, Raina is by far the most versatile of the lot, especially inside the circle.

"Celebration is big for me. From my younger days, when I used to win mementos while playing basketball, I have always believed in sharing my success. It has to be there. It lifts the energy levels of the entire side if you are positive"

"I met Jonty Rhodes and he said he thought I was the best fielder in India, which I am extremely proud of," he says. "When you know everyone thinks so highly about your fielding, you need to set an example. For me, fielding is everything - it is a passion that comes from within. You can get a bad ball while you bat, and your bowling may not always be up there, but you are completely in control of how well you field.

"When Gary [Kirsten] became the coach, there was a lot of talk about us becoming the best batting side or best bowling side in the world. Gary said, 'Why can't we be the No. 1 fielding side in the world?' and that's something that has stayed with me.

"If you reach that level, then no one can beat you, even if you are defending just 240 runs. Virat, Manoj [Tiwary], Jaddu [Ravindra Jadeja], Ajinkya [Rahane] and Rohit are all brilliant fielders. So when all of us are playing together, batsmen will find it very difficult to take liberties and pinch singles."

Another striking aspect of Raina's cricket is the energy he exudes on the field, and the joy he derives from the success of his team-mates. India were often a deflated unit in England, but Raina at short cover was almost always chirpy and pumping up the bowlers, at a time when he must have been mentally weighed down by his own lack of form.

"Celebration is big for me," Raina explains. "From my younger days, when I used to win mementos while playing basketball, I have always believed in sharing my success. It has to be there. It lifts the energy levels of the entire side if you are positive and vocal when a wicket falls. That attitude played a major role during the World Cup."

At times, Raina's on-field exuberance seems to go overboard, as it did during an IPL game when he nearly pulled out the hapless Doug Bollinger's hair implants after the latter had taken a wicket. Raina has a good laugh when he's reminded of the incident.

"That was funny for everyone. How was I expected to know that he had implants? Bolly later told me: 'The next time you touch my hair I'll kill you!' It was all in good spirit, but the next time he got a wicket, I didn't go near him. I have that video saved on my iPad, and whenever he is down I show it to him and we have a good laugh."

Dangerous limited-overs batsman, electric fielder, partnership breaker, genuine team man - Raina has assumed several roles in his young international career. But he's hungry to reclaim the one that has slipped out of his grasp for now.

"Test cricket is the only thing that counts," he says. "One-day and T20 performances are fine, but you rate a player by his status as a Test player. By the time I finish, I want to play at least 80 Tests and be known for my achievements in Tests."

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by G.Vinoth on (January 18, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

I really really wish Raina make a come back soon in tests..! i feel he belongs to tests..! He has got a great mindset truly exceptional. He played well in the Windies, SL... not sure why the selectors sacked him after one bad series... not a great idea to sack a youngster when he is learning... i agree there is no time to learn when team india needs runs... but opportunity is what will provide encouragement to the youngsters like raina, virat... i truly beleive raina wit virat & rohit form the future...! Can't wait to see my Raina rocking in Tests...! All the Best Sonu...! We need you back buddy..!

Posted by   on (January 18, 2012, 3:27 GMT)

Atleast one youngster has the right mindset. Now what is BCCI going to do about it? Nothing I guess ... Money talks, walks ...

Posted by Naresh28 on (January 18, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

I remember reading a comment from an Oz fan on what India needs to do. He echoed similar sentiments to me. In a team game like cricket Raina should be in cause his fielding is miles ahead of any Indian. Easy singles and running between wickets is costing India. Youngsters can start winning games for INDIA. Time to start now. Seniors will only give us the personal records and stats.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2012, 20:25 GMT)

The only thing that can improve raina's skill in batting especially playing short deliveries in Test cricket is County cricket.Not only Raina but all those indian batsmen who want to succeed as a test player should seriously consider playing county cricket.

Posted by SRAMESH5 on (January 17, 2012, 7:55 GMT)

When I read a number of comments, many of these reflect poor awareness of history of the game and great players of other countries. Indians are most irrational when it comes to evaluate their own players. After a failure, the batsman is taken to the cleaners and condemned to eternal mediocrity. Indians are carried away by negative hypes created by media and condemn the youngsters, if he is not an Instant success. Youngsters need encouragement and support in the early phase of their career. Yes, Suresh Raina has to be tried consistently to establish himself in the Test eleven along with Pujara, Badrinath, Murli Vijay, Mukund for a decent period before discarding. Their small successes must be lauded. We must get away from our obsession with Sachin Tendulkar and other great players. They have nothing to prove any thing to anybody in the Game. It is the Youngsters who need to be supported and their achievements highlighted.

Posted by ROXSPORT on (January 16, 2012, 20:16 GMT)

India needs to seriously groom Raina for the test team, not merely for his dangerous batting, but also for his electric slip catching. As we have witnessed over the past year or so, India's travails in overseas tests also has much to do with Rahul Dravid spilling more chances than than the entire team put together (just like Kamran Akmal, who just couldn't catch anything). Raina brings so much value to the test side -- electric fielder, safe slip catcher (which incidentally is a specialist position), partnership breaker & dangerous batter who can quickly take the momentum away from the opposition & put them on the mat. I wonder what the coaches & all the other technical staff are getting paid for if the bowlers keep getting injured every other test & batsmen keep getting bounced-out every innings. Much was said about the geriatric coach the Indian team has got itself (I wonder if his knees are strong enough to let him go to a playing field each morning). Technical Expertise, Ha,ha,ha..

Posted by Rahulbose on (January 16, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

Forget about Test matches, he hasn't even played a knock of substance in ODIs. His best innings in ODIs are all small cameo efforts for quick runs. Rahul Dravid put it best, you don't need good ball strikers you need proper batsmen in Test matches.

Posted by Jerseyite on (January 16, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

I want to know if Rohit Sharma will ever play test cricket. Pujara, Raina and Kohli have all played test match cricket. Yet, the best of the lot, Sharma is cooling his heels in Australia, when none of his so-called "illustrious" colleagues have been able to do anything.

Posted by   on (January 16, 2012, 19:13 GMT)

I think we all agree that he is a positive addition to any team. He will have to work hard to gain a test spot. But he has definitely become the guy I will always root for! Good luck Mr Raina!

Posted by lananad on (January 16, 2012, 17:34 GMT)

Reality is ..Are you good enough to play so many Test matches,when you are very week against genuine pace bowling.

Posted by   on (January 16, 2012, 17:26 GMT)

abhinav mukund, mandeep singh & one all rounder spinner need to come

Posted by tanveers on (January 16, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

"Leave a mark." What is this guy talking about? Raina at best is an average cricketer and that too limited overs. His records speak for himself. Even in his first class career he has an average of 43 and 36 (in limited overs). Do these numbers speak of a legend of a making? Get real... first class records clearly speak of a cricketers future international career--that too if he plays to the same potential.

Posted by PiyushD on (January 16, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

@Majr you have a very good suggestion but I have a question here, what is the role of a coach in cricket world?

Posted by   on (January 16, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

I think Raina's techniques in handling shortballs are not quite suitable for test cricket. while players like rohit, pujara, tiwary, and domestic hero badrinath are waiting for a test spot, he is better to concentrate on shorter versions

Posted by bestbuddy on (January 16, 2012, 13:40 GMT)

If he really wants to prove his doubters wrong and play his way into the test side (and keep it) then he should seriously consider a season as an overseas player in one of England, SA or Aus. Its the only way he'll be exposed to decent pace bowling enough to improve, and he's young enough to skip a season of ranji cricket and still come back into the India fold

Posted by   on (January 16, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

This guy has definitely got talent but much more important he has that infectious never give up attitude which I, personally, feel equals at least one of the oppositions 20 test wickets over the course of an average test contest. If he gets to play enough cricket on bumpier pitches in South Africa, England or Australia he will become an invaluable asset to the Indian Test Cricket side ABROAD. The most important thing is that he wants to do this as opposed to other Indian test cricketers who may just have the attitude . . . "Just wait until the Proteas, Australians, the English, New Zealand etc. come to India. Here we will show all of them that India is no.1!" In the end Indian victories in India or the Sub Continent alone under no circumstances proves the latter and will never do. They have to win serieses abroad in order to prove the above beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Posted by djdrastic on (January 16, 2012, 10:12 GMT)



That was just too funny. Go back to IPL Suresh . Bowlers aren't allowed to bounce you in that format of the game.

Posted by world.cricketer on (January 16, 2012, 7:48 GMT)

sorry this only possible if BCCI keep 65 tests continuously in india that too only flat tracks........because raina played 15 test and scored runs at an avg 29 not a test batsmen a head of pujara or rohit

Posted by   on (January 16, 2012, 6:37 GMT)

You deserve the Place Raina in the Test Squad,,All those who says you dont deserve are not the quality fan of Test Cricket,,,go ahead and just have some more improvement in the defensive shot,,,all the best

Posted by praneeth1992 on (January 16, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

raina is the most energetic cricketer i saw so far.he has to be given more chances because he is the future of our team.u observe the dismissals he has been given out due to umpiring errors.give him one more chance,i think he has the talent to prove it.

Posted by xylo on (January 16, 2012, 4:14 GMT)

The thing that strikes me the most when I watch Raina in a match whether or not he has performed well is his attitude. I love watching any match even if he is sub-ing for someone. He never gives up, and his enthusiasm is infectious even after playing so many games back-to-back.

Posted by thenkabail on (January 16, 2012, 0:52 GMT)

Suresh Raina is given too many chances and he has thoroughly failed. Enough is enough. We need to give others chances. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma both must be given a long run (5 continuous tests as minimum). Other palyers in the horizon: Poojara (if he can really learn how to keep himself fit!!), Manish Pandey (many have forgotten about him; but he appears to me a someone of test material). Abhinav Mukund must come in and join Gambhir to open. Kohli, Rohit, Shewag, Manish\Poojara should follow. Yes, bring Shewag lower down. Laxman, Dravid, and Tendulkar must retire. Dhoni must have an alternative wicket keeper and must be given ample rest!. India still does not have good allrounder. Overall our talet pool is very poor. India needs to send A teams to other countries all through the year. BCCI is a stupid organization only interested in making money. They are killing cricket with pointless IPL and other useless games. Where is quality cricket. We rightly got thrashed by Australia.

Posted by FoollyFedUp on (January 15, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

80 Tests...India as a country does not deserve 80 Tests...they need to be penalised 10 Tests for every Whitewash. Test matches in Nagpur, Kanpur and the likes will help you Mr. Raina.

Posted by VSinha29 on (January 15, 2012, 19:53 GMT)

hahaha..and i want to be captain of indian team

Posted by kempson94 on (January 15, 2012, 19:15 GMT)

The "I'm not going to make excuses but..." attitude of sportsman, especially evident in Indian cricketers, is a reason why many are actually deeply disliked by the public. Its only the true gentleman of cricket like Dravid, Tendulkar, Strauss, Chanderpaul and Kallis who draw true personal admiration from the public with their honesty and fallibility. Raina can say all he wants about not making excuses but he's just listed plenty. The truth is, he just couldn't cut it against a proper test team who were better than him.

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 18:26 GMT)

I really want Raina to sort out his both mental and technical fallacies and become a permanent in the Indian test squad. He has got a never-say-die attitude. While this Indian squad is incredibly talented, in both batting and even bowling, they are still managing to lose this comprehensively! I really think there is an attitude problem with the Indians. Albeit it came from Haddin, I totally agree with his comment that Indians crumble more easily under pressure. You could see it on the field; whenever things start to go oppositions' way, their shoulders start drooping so quickly! The bowlers lose their intensity, the captain becomes defensive and the fielders look completely devoid of any energy on the field. At this point you need characters like Raina who can lift the team with their own energetic fielding and continuous chirruping and clapping, motivating bowlers all the time. If you have even 3-4 such characters on the field, this energy becomes infectious and lifts the whole team.

Posted by stFleming on (January 15, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

I think Raina should forget being part of test team...Coz Sachin and Dravid will never retire and they'll make u older and finally u'll not get an opportunity to play test cricket...

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 18:11 GMT)

I think he can consider his test career as good as over. With Ajinkya Rahanne Knocking hard on the door with a domestic average of 68 and all senior players including foreign players pitching in for Rohit Sharma, i dont see how Raina will get more opportunities. As far as i am concerned Virate Kohli has cemented his place in the test side. In any case the selectors are dragging their feet when in comes to replacing the ageing players.

Posted by nadu_1975 on (January 15, 2012, 17:37 GMT)

Mr raina please play all of your 80 tests in India, rest i dont want to comment anymore of you.

Posted by SamRoy on (January 15, 2012, 17:26 GMT)

@me54321 Likeable or not one needs ability. I don't care if someone with a young Shane Warne or young Ricky Ponting's talent, ability and attitude gets a chance in the Indian team. They are there to play cricket and not profess diplomacy.

Posted by SamRoy on (January 15, 2012, 17:21 GMT)

All youngsters must play county cricket. It includes Virat, Rohit, Rahane, Pujara, Raina and Tiwary. Though out of these I think Raina has the least chance of succeeding (most vulnerable technique).

Posted by Scrop on (January 15, 2012, 17:11 GMT)

Raina temperament to show patience against short pitched balls is something that is hurting. He tries to come out of it in T20 style rather than a test match style. If he can hang in there till he really SETTLES down is something he needs to work on if he needs to be successful against the short deliveries.

Posted by Abhimanyu on (January 15, 2012, 17:03 GMT)

@Deadly_Dude, Sorry, but not even my dreams... for that to happen players like Badrinath, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Ajinkya Rahane all will have to fail at the test level before Raina is even considered OR our well know and well paid selectors could drop another atom bomb on our Indian team by giving Raina another chance to flop at the test level.

Posted by insightfulcricketer on (January 15, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

I want to blame the players for this debacle. But that is not the problem. Problem is lack of scientific temper in BCCI.Days are gone when overseas wickets were batsman friendly.In England and in Australia the wickets have been crap-shoots for batting with spongy bounce.Look even Australian batting except Sydney first innings have more or less struggled with one stand out performance deciding the game. In my opinion BCCI has to have a scout team which prepares 3 months in advance of an overseas tour.They will do a recce of grounds ,look at preparations ,prepare a dossier on current domestic performance of overseas players .Have facilities in India where the pitch is prepared according to kind of wickets to be expected. Green and hard wickets, true hard wickets ,spinning wickets etc.Make the batsman and bowlers practise in boot camp with zero family away time .Then choose the sixteen who are best equipped. Rather giving handouts to ex-players get some of them on payroll as scouts.

Posted by jonesy2 on (January 15, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

most of people theories of cricketers strengths and weaknesses are complete rubbish and thats what makes this the most interesting game because nobody really knows what they are talking about to a degree. i really like raina, he probably my favourite indian cricketer and there is no doubt he could be a part of india's new batting lineup, but what i dont understand is he is saying he wants to do just that but if he wants to prove himself he should be in australia, not with the test team but playing grade cricket before the ODI's and twenty20s

Posted by sameer_m_siddiqui on (January 15, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

I think suresh Raina needs to work on his skills against short pitch bowling .He was found out in england. It was evident that he was expecting short ball everytime and that caused an indifferent footwork against pitched up deliveries causing his demise. Once he hones his skills against short pitch stuff, only then he can think of entering into test arena once again. Till then he has to carry with one day specialist tag

Posted by OhhhMattyMatty on (January 15, 2012, 14:52 GMT)

As a famous TV advert in the UK goes: "BOUNCE! And the Raina's gone!" LOL!

Posted by uncanny_nanny on (January 15, 2012, 14:45 GMT)

Raina mightnot be as charismatic as Kohli or gifted as Rohit but he is humble,never arrogant and a perfect team player. Don't see him sledge,use expletives or try to hog the limelight. We should thank MSD for that. Learn Kohki learn, you might be a better player But...

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

What a refreshing attitude from a young up-and-comer in India. For his sake and for his country's sake, I hope he gets to play his wish of 80 Tests (and more) and do well for his country. Good luck, Suresh! Hope to see you playing here in Australia in four years time!

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 14:02 GMT)

does he want to play 80 tests in home or abroad....someone should ask him that

Posted by spinkingKK on (January 15, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

I always thought Raina was a very good player even in tests. He was right on the money when he said that he got so many bad decisions. I have witnessed those and I know that it true. Raina had the determination when he was batting in international cricket. It is the same kind of determination Kohli has shown in Perth. But, Raina showed that in every match. I am sure Raina will be one of the main players in the middle order of the future. India need to encourage players with the fielding abilities anyway. Only thing is, when you are young all the players are good fielders. It is maintaining that fitness when you reach the 30 is what is difficult. One example is Yuvraj. I have never seen such a good fielder in Indian cricket when he made is debut. But, these days he is a liability in the field.

Posted by jkaussie on (January 15, 2012, 12:16 GMT)

LOL That Bollinger episode was funny! One good thing the IPL has done is to get players from different countries to talk again; you hear all the players up until the late 90's saying this was the best way to learn.

Posted by Joninnorwich on (January 15, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

I really feel for India right now. The selectors are damned if they get rid of the old guard and damned if they don't. The trouble is that on their day the Holy Trinity (Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman) are still highly capable batsmen, its just that their day seems to come round far less often than it used to.

The Tendulkar 100 hundreds thing continues to hang over not only Sachin but the side as a whole, and I think the selectors now have to give a deadline. The end of the Australia tour should (very reluctantly) mark the end of the road for Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Harbijhan Singh, and even Sehwag if he doesn't find some form. Guys like Raina may have their faults but he's never going to improve if he doesn't get a chance. Raina reminds me in many ways of Ian Bell when he first came into the England side. The talent is obvious, but there are areas to work on! Look where Bell is these days!

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

I agree with d fact that he wants 2 improve but how will he do this, he will have 2 think himself..........I m vry confident abt d fact that he will make a comeback in Tests, by judging through 1 series isn't good, u ve 2 give him second chance.....ALL D BEST RAINA AND MAKE INDIA WIN IN AUSTRALIA

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

Raina has a better technique and temperament than trashy Virender Sehwag. Raina made 120 in his debut test and his 78 at Lords under extreme pressure, facing Anderson's best spell was a big feat. I hope to see him in India's Test XI. Also as pointed out, he got out to wrong calls and Graeme Swann most of the time. I wonder why selectors did not notice this. They should stick with him. He will come good. He has that hunger to do well. Rock the ODI series down under Raina. Cricinfo please publish.

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

I have always believed Raina to be a tremendous talented player. He will grow and once he gets his technique right against the short balls, hee will one of the greatest left hander game has ever seen. All the best buddy...

Posted by Outside_Off_Stump on (January 15, 2012, 11:48 GMT)

This is the guy who scored a century on debut and played so well in those difficult pitches in WI. One poor tour, where Sachin and Laxman also failed, doesn't necessarily make him a t20 specialist. Everyone playing test cricket are not Rahul Dravid either. Good luck Raina! Hopefully you work on your short comings and return a better player.

Posted by Raj239 on (January 15, 2012, 11:09 GMT)

"I know I am good enough to make a comeback, and it has got all to do with the mental approach" Thats what all Indians say. Its not mental its about technique. Dhoni, Gambhir, Sehwag and Raina all lack technique and it shows through in test cricket outside the subcontinent. This is why India should consider having a specialist batting coach like most other countries do.

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 10:55 GMT)

He'd probably do a better job than anyone in India's current test lineup. He'll probably have a long and successful career once India clear out the dead wood and start building for the future.

Posted by Deadly_Dude on (January 15, 2012, 10:54 GMT)

Dear Abhimanyu,

Many ppl said Azharuddin can't play short pitched bowling ... however, he went on to play 99 Tests for India, making runs in most countries, his century against SA in SA, when he was invloved in a 200+ patrnership with Sachin, against an attack boasting of Allan Donald in his prime, is still considered one of the finest attacking innings by a touring batsman in SA ... Ganguly's 144 against Aus at MCG is another example of a batsman who ppl thought could not play short-pitched bowling ... Raina has the right attitude, and keen ness to learn ... with time he should go on to become one of the more successful test batsmen for India ...

Posted by tan_vkfan on (January 15, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

he is a very good,talented cricketer all the very best

Posted by usernames on (January 15, 2012, 10:33 GMT)

He is a very good player, no doubt, and an year or two of county cricket can only do good to him. Miss the IPL, the Asia Cup and other such meaningless tournaments (in the context of your future) and play county for one year.

He has all the skills to be a real asset for the Indian team -- even the test teamĀ -- over the next decade or so. I, for one, would love to see him play well for the Indian test team, to be honest. The Indian team for the future, when all the stalwarts retire, will only benefit if players with his determination are there.

Posted by Emancipator007 on (January 15, 2012, 10:32 GMT)

Drumming up talk about a player who has been given 15 Tests to prove himself; a luxury which was not allowed to a classy player of express pace Sandeep Patil in a diff era just cos of a few failures? Badri has been unfairly dumped without being given a chance to fail in Tests (with a 50 on debut against Steyn and Morkel). Pujara is injured but he along with Rahane,Rohit and M. Tiwary(Tiwary has a very organized game and a fantastic first-class record, just some temperamental issues) obviously are the real contenders for Test berths. My next line-up for Tests when NZ, Eng,OZ come visiting in 2012-13:Viru,Gambhir,Pujara,SRT,Kohli,Rohit, Parthiv (gutsier than Dhoni and played as a teen against Bond and Akthar opening the batting),Zak, Ashwin, Yadav,Ojha; Reserves: Aaron,R. Sharma,Rahane,Pathan (if he can bowl at 135 kph). I would still keep Badri in the loop if any of the younger lot fails. If SRT decides to retire soon, get Rahane/Tiwary in immediately.

Posted by saffe on (January 15, 2012, 9:57 GMT)

good luck raina!there wil be tough competition among you virat,poojara and rahane!

Posted by write2win on (January 15, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

Raina says "At my age I need to play more and more matches in different conditions. But there's not much time given the amount of international cricket." - Then why NOT just NOT-PLAY-IPL and instead devote that time playing county cricket in England. Put your monies where your mouth is. By not playing IPL, only loss is monetary...but it's not that Raina is/has not made good monies...why not DEVOTE some time to hone skills to hook-pull and counter short stuff, in seamer friendly conditions on greenTops.

Posted by tan_vkfan on (January 15, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

i think he should play two three ranji seasons take a lot of experience and practice there score loads of runs and force the selectors to select him......but i am still not very sure about his phenomenal success in tests........but he surely has the talent of becoming future of india along with virat and rohit

Posted by me54321 on (January 15, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

It would be nice to see him make the improvements he needs to and get back into that test team. He seems quite a nice sensible and likeable character, much more so than a certain other young Indian batsmen.

Posted by rahulcricket007 on (January 15, 2012, 8:42 GMT)


Posted by Rahul_78 on (January 15, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

I know there will be 100 comments ridiculing him but the silver lining to the cloud is he is eager and positive and remembers his limited success at test level and accepts his failure openly. He is not smug about his ODI success and thinks falsely about capitalizing it in tests. The critical health Indian batting is finding itself currently it will need to muster all its resources to the fullest.

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

Agree with Raina's view about feilding. Raina with Virat, Manoj Tiwary, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma will sure make a brilliant feilding outfit.

Posted by crindex on (January 15, 2012, 8:00 GMT)

It will be good for both India and Suresh Raina if he improved on his techniques vis a vis short pitched balls. It will do everyone a whole lot of good . Good to see this younster is keeping faith and surely he will succeed ! Best wishes , Raina.

Posted by gilly_danda on (January 15, 2012, 7:51 GMT)

Mr. Raina , try to learn good defense and defensive strokes and how to play short balls then think about test cricket, it is not twenty20 cricket.

Posted by Abhimanyu on (January 15, 2012, 7:30 GMT)

Is this a joke?? Raina can NEVER be a test cricketer!! everyone knows that he can't handle short pitch bowling, and he has been given enough chances already. The funny thing is that he has already proved this in front of millions who watch cricket.

Posted by D.Sharma on (January 15, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

Raina is going down the wrong route. By saying he wants to play "at least 80 tests" he is following the path of Tendulkar who said he wanted to scored 15,000 test runs and Sehwag who said he wanted to play a 100 tests. Forget the stats!

Posted by stalefresh on (January 15, 2012, 6:59 GMT)

He should play. India test batting line should read...Gambir, sehwag, kohli, tendulkar, Rohit, Raina, Dhoni.

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 6:36 GMT)


Posted by Empty-Sequence on (January 15, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

Another IPL star who should be kept away from the test team. If he's brought back into test format that would mean India is in deep deep trouble and they have turned into minnows again.

Posted by satanswish on (January 15, 2012, 5:41 GMT)

Forget 80 Tests. IPL offsprings like Raina, Kohli etc. doesn't really deserve Test cricket. These Flat-Track bullies are all flop under foreign conditions. Captain Dhoni should first step down & retire from Test Cricket.

Posted by Raj239 on (January 15, 2012, 5:28 GMT)

Raina is not good enough at test level. Showed potential but was not good enough. Hes 25 not young either. Hes good ODI player though.

Posted by VickGower on (January 15, 2012, 5:11 GMT)

Interesting. I had no idea that he was so unfortunate with bad calls. And that he fell more to Swann than pace bowlers. Spectators may forget but those who matter should certainly take these things into account while evaluating a player. It's funny how black and white narratives get perpetuated over time. I wish him luck. He is exactly the kind of hard working bloke - a dynamite on the field - that cricket needs.

Posted by maddinson on (January 15, 2012, 5:01 GMT)

good to see determination but he needs to skip t20 tournament like IPL and willingness to play in County cricket. Before reading I though he said I am lucky to enough play that many test for India

Posted by Percy_Fender on (January 15, 2012, 4:42 GMT)

It is really a pity that Suresh Raina has a problem with short pitched bowling because otherwise he is a superb stroke player a brilliant fielder and a more than useful off spin bowler as well. These skills apart, he is a calm and likeable youngster. On his day he can destroy the best of bowling and can be the match-winner any team looks for. His problem with the short ball is certainly not because of fear. It has to do with his inabiity to read the length of the ball and his inability to get into position as a result. Having watched him closely I think he should see the way Ricky Ponting plays the hook shot. Ponting comes forward first and then depending upon the length, goes back along with the rising ball and then hooks swiveling in the process. Raina is a brilliant front foot player and could overcome his failing if he emulates which at his age should not be too difficult.In fact since he is from CSKs, he could even seek Hussey's help, who is a left hander as well,hook and pull.

Posted by akshay1994 on (January 15, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

I genuinely feel for him. No one has ever questioned his attitude, he always seems to say and do the right things, but I don't think he has the technique to tough it out in test matches. Although he is still young, like he said County Cricket would be ideal for him.

Posted by   on (January 15, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

He may lack technique but he has got the big match temperament and in that he is the best among Indian players. I do see a place for him in test X1 in future and I think he has in it to be a good test player. When ever India is down in an ODI, tension nahi lena , Raina hai na!!! Hope to hear same in tests!!!!!!!!!!!

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Nitin SundarClose
Nitin Sundar Social media manager Nitin spent his formative years perfecting the art of landing the googly, before blossoming into a book-cricket specialist. More excellence followed in the underarm version of the game before, like the majority of India's misguided youth, he started taking studies seriously. After four forgettable years of electrical engineering, followed by a rigorous MBA and 16 months in the strategy consulting industry, he began to ponder life's more profound issues. Such as the angle made by Brian Lara's bat with the horizontal at the peak of his back-lift. A move to ESPNcricinfo followed and Nitin is now a prolific nurdler in office cricket, with a questionable technique against the short ball.

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