South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban December 24, 2010

Raina's woes put Pujara in the frame

If the management thinks Suresh Raina might not be up for it on a green, bouncy track, it will make sense to look beyond him for the next two games, especially since they will want him confident ahead of the World Cup
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Those who have followed Suresh Raina's career closely will think they are caught in a time warp. It was in November 2006 that he first played in South Africa. The game was an ODI in Durban, the same venue where India now strive to keep the series alive. Back then, the whole team collapsed alright, but the way Raina got out has become instructive. Andre Nel bowled a short-of-a-length delivery, around off, angling away, and Raina with his feet stuck poked at it away from the body, and Jacques Kallis accepted the offering at second slip.

That was all Raina could manage on that tour. He was sent back home mid-tour, and was not considered for the World Cup, India's next major assignment.

Four years later, just before another World Cup, Raina has come back to South Africa, and nothing seems to have changed. In Centurion, Kallis bowled short of a length, around off, Raina anticipated bouncers, didn't get close enough to the ball, and poked. Twice in one Test: edging one, and guiding the other to slips. Things, though, were supposed to have changed. In those four years, Raina has established himself as a dangerous batsman in limited-overs cricket. He has become one of the few batsmen in the world with a century in each of the three formats, including a Test ton on debut and 62 and 41 not out in his second, in a stiff chase. He has scored loads of runs in South Africa in the IPL and in the Champions League. Overall he has grown a lot in confidence. The way he got out in Centurion, though, remains a massive worry for India.

Moreover, Raina now has scores of 32, 3, 20, 3, 1 and 5 in his last six Test innings. Neither the captain nor the coach has tried to hide concern regarding his No. 6 position, especially given they are in the middle of their biggest challenge in Tests, and in a country where top-class bowling is bound to test Raina. And in Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kallis, South Africa have top-class bowling that will go all out on a track whose primary feature is thick grass. However, the team management says it is yet to decide on whether to drop Raina.

We are always at risk of reading too much into nets sessions, but symbolism was easy to get into as India practised two days before the Boxing Day Test. After the warm-up, Gary Kirsten kneeled down to give slips practice to what has now become a regular cordon of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Raina and Virender Sehwag. A few hits into that session, Raina was hit in the ankle by a half-volley. Soon Dravid went to the physio for some attention to his finger, and in came Cheteshwar Pujara, the man who should be the obvious replacement if the team management decides against Raina, to take slip catches.

By the time Raina got repair work done and came into the nets, Pujara was already batting with the regular middle order in the nets either side of him. Raina even bowled a few loopy offbreaks to Pujara, which the latter played comfortably. And when Raina did get a bat - which does suggest that that hit on the ankle didn't do much damage - he found Pujara in the net on his off side. Pujara remained in his eye-line, and there is no doubt Pujara is in the eye-line of the team-management.

However, as Pink Floyd asked Eugene to be, this team has - barring exceptions like Abhimanyu Mithun - been careful with that axe. MS Dhoni's funda has been to give a player enough chances before dropping him so that he can look beyond the said player without thinking of him. A three-Test series, though, hardly gives him that luxury, especially when his side is 0-1 down already.

It is an important decision for Dhoni, Kirsten and the senior players to make going into perhaps their most important Test match. If they do persist with Raina, it could have larger implications. For he is sure to play in the ODIs on this tour, which - going by evidence so far - is more of his game. And Raina is a confidence player. His strength is to make the most of it when the going is good for him. If the management thinks Raina might not be up for it on a green, bouncy Test track, it will make absolute sense to look beyond him for the next two games. There is a World Cup in home conditions to follow after this testing tour, where they will want Raina to be at the top of his confidence.

Before coming to South Africa, Raina said, "To succeed in Tests, your temperament is more important than your technique. How you handle pressure situations and how you work your way out of trouble through grit and courage is also important." If he plays a further part in this series, Raina will need all that grit and courage, for the technique has already been found wanting.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 26, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    I think Raina Has given more chances to prove him,but he is not prove he is so bad against the short pitch bowling,so u should give chance to others and take crucial decision at tough times,it gives good results for u,Pujara has good technique,so he should be given a go,to see the result.Pujara has temprament,and good at short pitch bowling,let us wait and see,india is in trouble to win this test match,and prove they r no1 side.All the best for India.

  • Vinoth_Ganguly on December 26, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    No doubt between Raina or Pujara.... For T20 or ODI it should be Raina but TESTS it should be only PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA for Sure...................... He is such a talented Test Player, hungry for Runs and India needs to make the full use of him.

  • on December 26, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    without raina, and with gauti doubtful, its going to be a completely one-dimensional batting unit, full of right-handers.. this makes the SA job easier.

  • vipul_khemka on December 26, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    There is someone called YUVRAJ SINGH as well.... It was him whose place was taken by Raina and if Raina is going to lose that place, then it should be thrown back at Yuvraj once again, who never got a fair chance in test matches... We need every bit of him if we want to get the cup... We need him to be confident... we need to give him some games... not because of his reputation.. but because he deserves....

  • Jaggadaaku on December 26, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    Of course Pujara is the best choice for middle order. Raina is only and only good for short formats like 20/20s, and may be for ODIs. Moreover, If India plays against the team which has more spinners in the team, Raina would be the perfect batsman. Raina cannot play any short ball of very fast bowling. There are 2 more options for middle order as A Rhane and A Mukund for the middle order. @ Suresh Mudalier, the only reason, you favors the Raina because your and Raina's first name is same. But it doesn't change the fact that Raina is not for Test format because in Tests, more than half of the balls in every over bowl short. Pujara carries the first class average over 62, and we all seen his pull shots and temperament against the fairly good Australian bowlers. So, there should not be more discussion needed. But don't worry, because captain-Dhoni wouldn't drop his close friend-Raina as long as Raina selected in 15 men squad because Raina helps him a lot when Dhoni's wife is not around

  • CricketChat on December 26, 2010, 2:18 GMT

    Raina is best suited for short format especially suited to slower pitches and hot weather conditions where the ball doesn't do much in the air or off pitch where he can hit thro' the line without fear like in sub-continent. On bouncier pitches in SA, Aus, WI or even Eng, he will struggle. I am afraid he might turn out to be another Yuvi for Tests. Need to maintain horses for courses in these times. Pujara or Vijay are better bets than Rain for Tests outside sub-continent.

  • on December 25, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    Hope Dhoni gets Pujara in atleast now.....

  • on December 25, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    what the hell everyone say raina scored century on debut and plays in pressure situation like that in champions leaugue.he scored century in a pitch where there cant be results even if played for 8 days.coming to champions league and ipl performance international cricket is different from ipl.has he won matches like yuvi and kaif did in natwest series in england?indian selectors are really horrible!! cheteshwar pujara reallly deserves a chance

  • suday on December 25, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Every one loves to hate the Australians but look at how they select?? If you don't perform then they drop you, easy has that. In the case of India i think that politics play a big role. Cricket should be run by ex cricketers. There are a lot of things that we the fans of cricket don't know because the media don't report on it. decisions need to be made for the good of the team.The main selectors of the team is the BCCI then the captain and coach who have a say but when the team tours it is the captain the coach and the senior platers that will select the team unless they are instructed to play a certain team. I think that come after the world cup there will be a few guys that will retire it is going to be a sad day, but it time for some new blood.

  • on December 25, 2010, 17:47 GMT

    Rohit Sharma needs to be given a shot sometime soon ! .. Raina shld be dropped because he needs to be at the top of his game during WC .. if his confidence dropss .. India in TROUBLE for WC !

  • on December 26, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    I think Raina Has given more chances to prove him,but he is not prove he is so bad against the short pitch bowling,so u should give chance to others and take crucial decision at tough times,it gives good results for u,Pujara has good technique,so he should be given a go,to see the result.Pujara has temprament,and good at short pitch bowling,let us wait and see,india is in trouble to win this test match,and prove they r no1 side.All the best for India.

  • Vinoth_Ganguly on December 26, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    No doubt between Raina or Pujara.... For T20 or ODI it should be Raina but TESTS it should be only PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA PUJARA for Sure...................... He is such a talented Test Player, hungry for Runs and India needs to make the full use of him.

  • on December 26, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    without raina, and with gauti doubtful, its going to be a completely one-dimensional batting unit, full of right-handers.. this makes the SA job easier.

  • vipul_khemka on December 26, 2010, 5:27 GMT

    There is someone called YUVRAJ SINGH as well.... It was him whose place was taken by Raina and if Raina is going to lose that place, then it should be thrown back at Yuvraj once again, who never got a fair chance in test matches... We need every bit of him if we want to get the cup... We need him to be confident... we need to give him some games... not because of his reputation.. but because he deserves....

  • Jaggadaaku on December 26, 2010, 4:03 GMT

    Of course Pujara is the best choice for middle order. Raina is only and only good for short formats like 20/20s, and may be for ODIs. Moreover, If India plays against the team which has more spinners in the team, Raina would be the perfect batsman. Raina cannot play any short ball of very fast bowling. There are 2 more options for middle order as A Rhane and A Mukund for the middle order. @ Suresh Mudalier, the only reason, you favors the Raina because your and Raina's first name is same. But it doesn't change the fact that Raina is not for Test format because in Tests, more than half of the balls in every over bowl short. Pujara carries the first class average over 62, and we all seen his pull shots and temperament against the fairly good Australian bowlers. So, there should not be more discussion needed. But don't worry, because captain-Dhoni wouldn't drop his close friend-Raina as long as Raina selected in 15 men squad because Raina helps him a lot when Dhoni's wife is not around

  • CricketChat on December 26, 2010, 2:18 GMT

    Raina is best suited for short format especially suited to slower pitches and hot weather conditions where the ball doesn't do much in the air or off pitch where he can hit thro' the line without fear like in sub-continent. On bouncier pitches in SA, Aus, WI or even Eng, he will struggle. I am afraid he might turn out to be another Yuvi for Tests. Need to maintain horses for courses in these times. Pujara or Vijay are better bets than Rain for Tests outside sub-continent.

  • on December 25, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    Hope Dhoni gets Pujara in atleast now.....

  • on December 25, 2010, 18:52 GMT

    what the hell everyone say raina scored century on debut and plays in pressure situation like that in champions leaugue.he scored century in a pitch where there cant be results even if played for 8 days.coming to champions league and ipl performance international cricket is different from ipl.has he won matches like yuvi and kaif did in natwest series in england?indian selectors are really horrible!! cheteshwar pujara reallly deserves a chance

  • suday on December 25, 2010, 18:03 GMT

    Every one loves to hate the Australians but look at how they select?? If you don't perform then they drop you, easy has that. In the case of India i think that politics play a big role. Cricket should be run by ex cricketers. There are a lot of things that we the fans of cricket don't know because the media don't report on it. decisions need to be made for the good of the team.The main selectors of the team is the BCCI then the captain and coach who have a say but when the team tours it is the captain the coach and the senior platers that will select the team unless they are instructed to play a certain team. I think that come after the world cup there will be a few guys that will retire it is going to be a sad day, but it time for some new blood.

  • on December 25, 2010, 17:47 GMT

    Rohit Sharma needs to be given a shot sometime soon ! .. Raina shld be dropped because he needs to be at the top of his game during WC .. if his confidence dropss .. India in TROUBLE for WC !

  • Abhimanyu on December 25, 2010, 17:20 GMT

    People who are saying that Vijay should replace Raina, needs to understand that Vijay is not in the same class as Pujara. Vijay might be a better Test batsmen than Raina, but he does not have any backfoot strokeplay. Pujara is, on pure potential, a replacement for Rahul Dravid.

  • sudhindranath on December 25, 2010, 17:06 GMT

    How many runs do you need to score to win a Test match? Who knows?! How many wickets do you have to take in order to win a match? 20. If you are the dominant side, you will also have a top-class bowling line-up, first and foremost. You need to have a reliable batting side too, but it is the quality of the bowling that is the deciding factor. On that basis alone, India cannot be a dominant side and therefore their #1 ranking is more a statistical aberration than anything else.

    (However, given the overall quality of the team as well as the quality of the other teams, India can perhaps deservedly claim a spot in the top three; just not the top spot).

  • matsadelaide on December 25, 2010, 16:35 GMT

    PUJARA definitely should be given a chance to play in middle order instead of Raina in the 3rd test,he as proven his ability in the domestic cricket and Indian 11( B under 19) in abroad, it seems he is a real test player who played a mach winning innings in the absence of vvs laxman against Australia in Bangalore.... so that the India's key one-day player Raina could be rested for SA onedays and world cup

  • on December 25, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    yes , its time to to drop raina , and give pujara a run

  • on December 25, 2010, 15:48 GMT

    hey!! what's wrong with all of you??? RAINA IS A FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR BETTER AND CLASSY PLAYER THAN SOME ORDINARY PUJARA......i've seen him in the ranji trophy and he just plays fine in it...just fine!! but it's just ranji trophy where bowlers are struggling to find their way towards the indian team. n this one is international that too SA!! he has just scored a 72 and 4 in his debut....relying on that u people say that he has to replace the FANTASTIC RAINA!! Suresh Raina has proved himself as a batsmen who can handle pressure, an excellent fielder and a true match winner!! Pujara is nowhere in front of RAINA....so pls stop the nonsense that "PUJARA SHOULD REPLACE RAINA!!" it's just buckwas and THERE IS NOTHING TO DECIDE BETWEEN RAINA OR PUJARA??!!! iT'S 100% SURESH RAINA.....UNDERSTOOD EVERYBODY??? "SURESH RAINA" THAT'S ALL!!

  • Devd007 on December 25, 2010, 15:33 GMT

    Make Sourav Ganguly the Chairman of the selection committe and we will automatically have the best talents in India included in the team, and a healthy bench stregth will also be created. Ganguly had never selected a player for any consideration other than MERIT and TALENT. Even Pujara was selected by him for KKR. Clearly such an attitude of fairness and convinction is sorely lacking in most Indian selectors and captains. Dhoni and Srikanth are selecting people from the CSK team and from their own homestates - Jokers like Saurabh Tiwary, Murali etc. Some people on this forum are craving for Badrinath. Really ?? Hasn't he already proven his lack of class and talent many times over? When will Indians start putting national interests above narrow regional interests?

  • on December 25, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    give chance to pujara to show his metal.Succeed or fail no issues , give him the match conditions to play and let raina be there for one dayers and one t20.

  • johnsrini on December 25, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Srikanth is fair. Karnatika has always been jealous of Tamilnadu , I do not read into the comments from Karnatika folks bashing Srikanth. There is hardly any Tamilnadu player in the team.

  • SamRoy on December 25, 2010, 14:37 GMT

    People are still crying over Yuvi not being in test team. Ha Ha. There are always some players (like Badrinath) who are unlucky to miss out because their careers coincide with that of world class players (Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid, Laxman, etc.). So tough luck. It happened during the 70's with Doshi (at least he got to play 30 odd matches late in his career), Padmakar Shivalkar, etc. when there was golden Indian spin quatret. It's not that Badri never got a chance! We saw him in India vs SA. Twice he failed against Steyn/ Morkel and once he got a 56 (with 6 out of 8 boundaries coming via edges to 3rd man!). Unlucky, yes. May have been a good test batsman for India (certainly not Great or world class -- doesn't have that aura). The only player from Tamil Nadu with world class potential is Ashwin (currently better than both Bhajji and Ojha). Vijay's non-existent backfoot strokeplay will be a hindrance for him becoming a world class batsman. Vijay is a good player of the front foot though.

  • pankaj7tripathi on December 25, 2010, 14:36 GMT

    Even with Zaheer returning the Indian bowling is way below the mark and will struggle to take 15 wickets, let alone 20. There was a lot of big talk about Ishant Sharma was going to be the next Indian bowling star and yet I am still waiting for him to fulfil his earlier promise. A lot will depend on the Indian batters, though their past record in SA isn't much to write home about. Its about time Raina was put on the bench and Pujara was given a extended opportunity. Raina, unfortunately needs to look at his technique against fast bowling. He actually looks scared..!!

  • pankaj7tripathi on December 25, 2010, 14:28 GMT

    Even with Zaheer returning the Indian bowling is way below the mark and will struggle to take 15 wickets, let alone 20. There was a lot of big talk about Ishant Sharma was going to be the next Indian bowling star and yet I am still waiting for him to fulfil his earlier promise. A lot will depend on the Indian batters, though their past record in SA isn't much to write home about. Its about time Raina was put on the bench and Pujara was given a extended opportunity. Raina, unfortunately needs to look at his technique against fast bowling. He actually looks scared..!!

  • ChuckyDoll on December 25, 2010, 14:16 GMT

    Stick with Rana. Give him the full 3-Test series. Have faith in him.

  • on December 25, 2010, 14:03 GMT

    pujara is a classy batsman but dhoni belives a lot in raina i don't now why,pujara's domestic record proves that he is elegible raina can't handle short balls this lad does

  • on December 25, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    Cheteshwar Pujara, without a shadow of doubt.

  • on December 25, 2010, 13:19 GMT

    Puajra certainly deserves a chance

  • on December 25, 2010, 12:38 GMT

    M Vijay is the better option. Regardless of who gets the chance, hope neither of them is given the "Praveen Amre" treatment by the selectors. Yes, Amre is the only Indian centurion at this ground.

  • aseemabdul on December 25, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    come on guys look in to the bowling aspects indian bowling attack is not good enough or effective , see in the case of ishanth sharma he is some how finding a place but look in to his performance its really bad and still he has been given chance almost all the time please do the selection perfromance based and give everyone the fear that if they are not performing they will dropped out dont let them be complacement and have a comfort zone , make them come out of their comfort zone and they will come in flying colours

  • kdcricket on December 25, 2010, 12:29 GMT

    Its time capable youngsters are blooded in test matches, the ones which readily come to mind are Pujara, Rahane, Kohli etc. Raina has been given too many chances and his time is up now. Badrinath cannot be a long term solution given that he is already over 30. We also need to look beyond Harbhajan, as he seems to be unable to create the Kumble magic. Some promising spinners are their on the horizon like Chawla, Mishra, Ashwin, Iqbal Abdulla etc. who should be blooded. Now is the time for change and as with any other change this is going to be painful too. We are not going to get instant replacements for the batting line up we have. Pace bowlers like Pankaj Singh, Mithun, Yadav, Chahar need to groomed. State level talent spotting committees are needed to find and nurture talent. The current bureaucratic method doesn't give results

  • KENNETH2007 on December 25, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    My point of selection is already there-if only the selection......committee could ...decide the same... 1)Kholi -Dravid 2)Raina-Pujara 3)Unadkat-Munaf Patel THIS SHOULD BE DONE AT ANY CASE....IF INDIA WANTS TO WIN

  • aseemabdul on December 25, 2010, 11:28 GMT

    hi everyone i am seriously conerned about indias future because of the way things are happenning comeon guys raina is not performing accept that fact and please give pujara a fair chance and please have a criteria or a system worked for those who are not performing and please accept the fact that indian bowling attack is not good for a long time why cant we have a bowling coach in my opinion which ever team has the best bowling attack would definitely win this world cup

  • Chamindra on December 25, 2010, 11:02 GMT

    Pujara should be given a chance.. Raina is good for only ODIs and T20's

  • arun_tg1 on December 25, 2010, 10:27 GMT

    Will BADRI ever be selected .... players who don't even know to play bounce are being selected rather BEING TRIED... but this guy is constantly being ignored in-spite of having technique and talent... IS IT DHONI WHO IS BLOCKING THE WAY FOR HIM??? ... and Indian captain hardly deserves a place in the test team.... he constantly misses chances behind stumps... and bats when the pitch doesn't have anything in it ... with this he is showing the highest level of partiality.

  • akhil103 on December 25, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    pujara all the way raina got his chance

  • on December 25, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    @cricketfan09 ..ya mate u r correct...he is over compensating here..but the problem wth Srikanth is he is showing as he is much towards tamilnadu players..see...for exapmle he has named Karthik in the 30 probable list for WC...where its obvious that karthik is not going to make it to the 15 squad and also karthik doesnt deserve a place too..but ppl r going to talk about the 30 probable where karthik is included and Uthappa is excluded..atleast to show justifications Srikanth could have added Uthappa and dropped Karthik where it is not goin to make any change in the 15 as i think the first 15 is already selected i suppose..now that could have reduced yelling at Srikanth...but without using the brain properly Cheeka is spoiling the carrer of badri(if badri is born in anyother country he wuld hve scored atleast 3000+ runs by this time) where at the sametime he is trying to make a oneday specialist lyk Raina to become a test player...and spoiling his oneday form too...

  • kavinesh on December 25, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    *It is not that no bouncers will be bowled for raina in ODI and 20-20. Time for him to strengthen his weakness. **If you are not a good player in test match you can never be good in ODI **

    *If the management decides to play some players (raina) only for subcontinent pitches then it will end with two teams 1. subcontinent pitch players and oversees pitch players like the test and ODI teams.

  • on December 25, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    Pujara, Pujara and thousand times Pujara for test matches. He has temperament for Test Crickets, He has scored ample of runs in these forms in domestic circuits and more over all cricket experts looks him as a replacement of Dravid or Laxman. He has to be a part of test team.

  • UtpalKhardenavis on December 25, 2010, 9:09 GMT

    Although Raina impressed me very much with his ability to hit the ball out of the ground and handle pressure situations in ODI Format, but then I don't think he is good enough to face a quality pace attack of SA in South Africa. His technique is faulty when it comes to handling short pitched ball and it is eveident that he hasn't improved much in that respect . He also relies too uch on big shots. Every now and then you can feel the desire in him to come down the track and have a big heave. This is not always possible in a Test match. I guess he can be given atmost one chance. After this he should be asked to improve the technique and score well in domestic tournaments ( in Tests) to even stand a chance of inclusion in Test Team. Otherwise he is a good ODI/T 20 Player.

  • debjyoti1983 on December 25, 2010, 8:58 GMT

    i think pujara deserves a chance....let raina be nurtured as a vital cog in the 2011 world cup india bkues machine..... horses for courses....

  • on December 25, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    Suresh Raina got enough chances to prove himself... Let the Pujara to play in the 2nd test..... If Pujara succeeded Raina had nothing to lose.... It will become very hard to Yuvraj Singh to come back to the Test side...... And also Murali Vijay is the Best option among Pujara.... Bcoz Vijay had good experience in South Africa......

  • atul292 on December 25, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    Sam Roy hit the nail abs on the head...India should have blooded in Rohit,Virat,Ajinkya and Pujara slowly long ago..they are India,s best 4 long format batters..with the most solid defence and apt offence..i cant beleev Rohit is not in the scheme of test things for India and why Virat is not even in our 15 test players list

    Beleev u me, there is no harm in keeping VVS/Rahul/sachin on toes by giving the young 4 above a game here or there.

    and whats with ignoring my fave player..Robin Utthapa..he may have been lacking in temperament some time back..but hes sorted his mind out ..and if not better..hes as good as Virat..who i rate very very high

    Sam is also rite that Virat is possible future India captain..but i would rate Rohit just a notch better than Virat..and Pujara is India's future Rahul Dravid.

    dont waste those 5 boys ..and lastly i am still not convinced abt Dhoni's place in test side

  • on December 25, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    please hear to my prayers dont back up certain players (raina) look in to the new era and u will find a pujara don't diminish the team's aura winning should be ur mantra for you are having god of cricket using him effectively should be ur ticket agree the pitch was damp that cant be a reason for the swamp you got to play as a champ loss should not call for a revamp

    but remember, you are the boss every time u lose a toss count it as a crucial loss....

  • on December 25, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    i have just one question what do i need to do inorder to have my comment posted...i mean i have never commented anything revolutinary still i am never considered...please tell me

  • on December 25, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    The way its not going to be good for Indian cricket to have Dravid and Laxman to be part of T20 team in the same manner yuvi and raina are not made for Test cricket .Everyone is not made for all the three format of the game and should understand their limitations.Making them play test cricket is only spoiling their career.It has happened with Yuvi and he is still recovering from it. His free flowing batting has been curtailed after being part of test team and now see he is fighting for a spot in XI(a person who was vice-captain 2 years back). Yuvi and Raina are greats of the shorter format of the game .Players like Rahane, Mukund, Pujara, Vijay have been developed and made for test cricket (see their first class average).You should utilize them until sachin,dravid,laxman are around so that they can learn from them.

  • cricketfan09 on December 25, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    Seriously, why is Badrinath being neglected? An unbiased approach at comparing their technique, stats and form will tell you that he is far better than either Raina or Pujara or Yuvraj for this #6 spot, and also should be the first replacement for SRT/Dravid/VVS, whenever they call it a day. Did well to score 50+ on debut against a marauding Steyn. Keep Badri for tests (Pujara as back up), and leave Raina in for ODI and t20 only. Srikkanth is over-compensating here- with Karthik, Ashwin, Vijay at the fringes- is he worried about favoritism if he chooses Badri?

  • on December 25, 2010, 8:03 GMT

    raina is a odi and t20 player not a test player but pujara is an all rounder player who can play all the three types of games so pujara shud be kept only for test matches and raina for odi and t20

  • on December 25, 2010, 7:38 GMT

    The Great Indian Spinner Bhajji had a figure of 2/169 and still he is a leading bowler in Indian Team... whereas austraila's Bollinger had a figure of 1/130 and he was dropped in the next ashes game coz of lack of match fitness. :) LOL :-)

  • on December 25, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    come on Yuvraj has ruled world cricket for a decade now, we all know he is a class act & can mouls the game on his own. We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj !

  • on December 25, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj ! We want Yuvraj !

  • on December 25, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    I prefer MSD and Gary will give another to raina and act the same way they handled when gambhir went out of form, They need to be supportive when he is not in form and that will help raina to make a good comeback, pujara is ofcourse a good player but he needs to wait for some more time for his turn. I hope india will make gud decisions and defeat green track bullies in the second test match.

  • sweetspot on December 25, 2010, 7:16 GMT

    To me, this is not a Raina OR Pujara situation. Both are fantastic players in slightly different places in their career paths. Raina is an excellent instinctive striker of the ball, so he may have some technical adjustments to make, and we should know the future of cricket is really about striking the ball with confidence. Ask Sehwag. Those days of grinding the ball down to the ground like Dravid are gone. Pujara has both the technical competence and the ability to score big, and should no doubt get his chance, but not necessarily at the cost of Raina, even though this next match situation may demand that replacement. Let's enjoy the riches in Indian batting, and let's stop taking one tour of SA so seriously. SA is not the world. Many would say, in cricket, India is.

  • nag42408 on December 25, 2010, 7:12 GMT

    Pujar was suppose to replace RD in Indian team that was medias predication after Australian series in India an d just after two series he is replacing raina the youngester what surpers is it.Just two series before media wanted RD out and pujar in. The funniest part is we have not yet found a replacement to sourva who was supposed to be the weekest of fab four in test matches.and when we will find a replacement to RD SRT and vvs

  • on December 25, 2010, 7:11 GMT

    I found this line in the above article... " MS Dhoni's funda has been to give a player enough chances before dropping him so that he can look beyond the said player without thinking of him "... Is it really a correct statement???... I really doubt. "If this was really correct then, Badrinath would have been given more chances." But it was not the case. He hardly got time to prove himself. And had Badrinath got his opportunities then he would have shown his class and also outclassed many other players. But even after players like Raina fail for 6 continuous innings(and a couple more), they are still in the fray contending for their place. May be this is right for players who are liked by THE GREAT Dhoni and also he vows them:O . STRANGE!!!!

  • on December 25, 2010, 6:36 GMT

    Time and again, I have believed that this selection committee, headed by Srikkanth & Company is behaving immaturely in the selection of players. There were all reasons for Suresh Raina to be rested for the SA test series going by his form. Similarly, there was all reason to include Rohit Sharma keeping in mind the way he helped India win the tri-series ODI in Australia on the bouncier pitches a few seasons back. Coming back to the selection for second test against SA, I feel Cheteshwara Pujara should come in place of Raina. If Zaheer is fit, he should come in place of Ishant Sharma as I feel Jaidev Unadkat needs all the encouragement to blossom into a match winner especially after his decent debut. The selection for ODIs in SA to follow the test series, too, has left a lot to to be desired and was illogical according to me: http://www.flixya.com/blog/2398325/ODI-Indian-Cricket-Squad-Selected-For-South-Africa-Illogical

  • We_Win_All on December 25, 2010, 6:32 GMT

    India's selection policy towards selectors also consist of quota system. It was the turn of South zone's selector to be the chairman of selectors' panel. Also according to unwritten agreement between south zone's associations it was Karnataka's turn to nominate a selector from South. G.R.Vishwanath was all set to be nominated. But N.Srinivasan's strong lobby in BCCI top brass enabled Srikanth to be nominated from South through TN. Hence Srikanth has an obvious dislike towards Karnataka players and thus we don't find chances for the likes of Mithun, Vinay, Uthappa and Pandey. India WILL NOT HAVE best players playing for National team as long as IPL and Srinivasan exists.

  • catalyst213 on December 25, 2010, 6:10 GMT

    Durban is the TEST for Indian selectors, they need to make the right choice and with the way Raina has performed recently maybe a break will do him alot of good. Pujara, then will be tested under pressure to perform in alain conditions. Hard job it is for sure, Good Luck !!

  • on December 25, 2010, 5:53 GMT

    if india give a shot to yuvi at this stage where he can play at least one test n get to know abt the bouncy tracks i m sure he will do much better in one dayers and all is well for india to go to world cup with yuvi inform.........so call yuvi back u dumbass srikant.......

  • on December 25, 2010, 5:51 GMT

    i fully agree with what samroy has written

  • Devd007 on December 25, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    India MUST keep shuffling its pace bowling attack...SA came to India and played all our fast bowlers with relative ease...the key to defeating the Proteas is to keep them guessing with different bowlers like P.Kumar, Munaf Patel, R.Ashwin, Ashish Nehra etc. We simply cannot afford to have Harbhajan play each and every test because of SENIORITY !! And for Gods' sake, Dhoni and Srikkant should start looking beyond Chennai Super Kings players. Bring on Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the middle order. Are you insane that they are not yet in the Test team ????

  • nirajtaneja on December 25, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    raina should be given rest for next two matches , he is gud in t20 and ODI formats , but not for test , where patience is required. BRINGING IN PUJARA WILLBE A GREAT DEAL , AS HE IS VERY PATIENT BATSMEN, ALTHOUGH HE HAS NOT PLAYED TOO MANY TESTS BUT LOOK AT HIS DOMESTIC RECORDS U WILL BE AMAZED , HE HAS SCORED LOT OF RUNS AND DOIN WELL. I THINK PUJARA SHUD BE IN FOR NEXT TWO TESTS. ATLEAST GIVE HIM A CHANCE TO PROVE HIMSELF. HE IS FUTURE LAXMAN/DRAVID OF INDIAN TEAM. PLAYING ELEVEN ACCORDING TO ME : SEHWAG, GAMBHIR, TENDULKAR, DRAVID, LAXMAN, PUJARA, DHONI, ZAHEER, HARBHAJAN, SREESANTH, ISHANT. PART TIME BOWLING OPTIONS COULD BE SACHIN, SEHWAG

  • on December 25, 2010, 5:46 GMT

    Vijay Kotha,,If u feel Dhoni is bringing CSK members ,Why are Badri and AShwin not given chances, despite their good performances.AShwin , I bet is far better than this crap Hyped bowler Harbhajan.AShwin turned to be the best bowler in Ranji and even in NZ series..How do you justify that..?CSK has nothing to do with selection for Indian team.The problem with Indian team is we areegoistic and so called seniors are always given preferences over others whether they perform or not..

  • dubai_cricfan on December 25, 2010, 5:40 GMT

    i dont knw why u guys are all behind pujara...when compared to raina he is yet to cement a place....this is not domestic cricket..its international & moreover its south africa....if we focuss badiranth or yuvaraj it is sense...but puajra, i dont think he can make an impact..he is just an ordinary player...may be once he will rule the cricket....actually this is the fault of selectors who made this tour tragedy....if der is any provison please bring badirnath and nehra back.......

  • Percy_Fender on December 25, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    The whole problem is in not following the policy of horses for courses in our selection. Why should it be that players who are known as being weak in a partcular area of batting are persisted with to play in the very places where their shortcomings will get exposed. In my opinion, Raina should never have been selected for this tour since everyone knew about his weakness against short pitched bowling. Rahane, Kohli and Sharma were the obviously better choices given their being better in back foot play and having a tightertight defence.I feel that no player should find it demeaning to be told that since he is weak in a certain aspect he is not being selected for a particular tour. In this manner, the best player in a paticular set of conditions alone should be considered for selection.I am sure if this policy is set out we are not going to have the embarassment of having to debate about whether a highly succssful ODI star can figure in the Test playing eleven in the midst of a tour.

  • on December 25, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Though Suresh Raina has not performed well in his last six test innings; but he can be match winner for India in rest of the matches, and he deserves another chance in Durban. We can't ignore his dedication, dominations and aggression which he is showing throughout. To beat aggressive side like SA you require all such qualities in your team. Also we can't compare Suresh Raina with Yuvi, bcz Yuvi has talent and skills more than anybody else but he has not used it effectively due to lack of dedication. But Raina always look to contribute and plays for the team. Pujara will get lots of chances in future to contribute to the team but Raina was on his peak form duirng this year and after getting form back he will be deadly dangerous for the oppositions. we shouldn't press down his confidense by dropping him from test matches. He will definietly dominate in next matches and will provide the way forward to team India if given a chance..

  • sidzy on December 25, 2010, 5:22 GMT

    i think pujara shouln'd have been dropped in first place against NZ. IND might have rested sachin & played pujara & we could have seen who's better b/w pujara & raina

  • kevinpp24 on December 25, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    Infact pujara should have been given a go before raina. How come a guy with average of 30 in dead pitches can survive in seaming tracks. Crazy slectors!!!

  • on December 25, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    Y ppl r nt talking about badrinath..?? now he is a okiee player on bouncy tracks..remember the first champions league match....he showed gud technique...ya t20 will nt make justification for test cricket..but no need to speak about badri's domestic ranji record...all da ppl r shouting about favarism..but he is ignored caz..o.O...i dunno y...a well deserved player...he wuld hve made it to anyother playing 11..including aussie and SA...

  • jimbond on December 25, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    Pujara certainly. No vijay at this stage. And the next to be tried out after Pujara has to Rahane. The selectors should set a precedent of rewarding players who do well in Ranji. That is the safest, if they fail the next guys can be given opportunities. First class average is certainly important, as it demonstates ability to construct an innings.

  • on December 25, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    I think Pujara should replace Raina. He has been given enough chances by Dhoni. It's time for Pujara!

  • bc1992 on December 25, 2010, 5:13 GMT

    @SamRoy - couldnt agree more. I've been saying for some time now that India would be facing a big problem once the Big Three retired. Now that the first test has come and gone with a crushing win for SA, the Indian selectors have no choice but to seriously consider the merits of the next group of batsmen coming through. Sorry, but Raina is not the answer - he couldnt score runs against NZ, what makes the selectors think that he's going to score heavily against the best fast bowlers in the world on a greentop? His technique is shot, his headspace is obviously a mess becuase he thinks that his technique is not issue - put someone else in there who at least has a fighting chance of making a positive impact.

  • on December 25, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    I think Suresh Raina is a good player for the 20-20 Format & One-day games. He has a long way to go to be part of the Test format, which is a good test of technique, temperament & grit

  • bungat on December 25, 2010, 5:02 GMT

    All the indian batsmen failed in SA (except sachin and dhoni ) as they are flat pitch bullies. I think Raina is going to be the scap goat for the failures of the indian top order batsmen.

  • hatrick26 on December 25, 2010, 5:00 GMT

    @MadhavSathe..I dont think it works that way. If a player plays Test well, he could play ODI at the top of the order since his technique would be good, perhaps his strike rate not so much (like M Vijay). Even Dravid was like this but he improved so much in terms of strike rate. On the other hand, players like Raina, Yuvi and many other Indians before him who play ODI well are not suitable for Tests on bouncy tracks. Please dont compare Raina with Dhoni as he has utility in keeping and captaincy. Get Rahane, Mukund in as soon as possible rather than waste them. We will know atleast know if they are good or not for bouncy tracks.

  • McGorium on December 25, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    @Sur Tin: I don't know where you are getting your info, but M. Vijay has never played a game outside the subcontinent. If you mean that he did well against Australia, so did N. Sidhu... on occasion. Means nothing. The reason openers are rarely chosen to play down the order is that they are generally slow scorers; not the sort you want in the middle order. (Sehwag is not a real opener). Also, Pujara played well against Aus too, and scored quickly. Makes sense to play him. He seemed assured of the backfoot, and is supposed to be one for the future (He's 22 or so, I think). On pure potential, I'd pick Pujara over Vijay. He *looks* more assured.

  • on December 25, 2010, 4:45 GMT

    Yuvraj should be in the team of instead of chateshwar pujara becasuse yuvraj has a lot of experience on Fast pitches. And about raina he always fail in fast pitches. and in odd condition yuvraj is always good

  • on December 25, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    Dhoni, although a good captain, has been known for his favorismsl. He tried carrying RP Singh as far as he could have, but RP dint do himself any favor by underperforming. Same he is doing with Raina. The guy looks totally out of sorts. This attitude of Dhoni is spoiling the careers of 2 individuals, Pujara and Raina himself. If Raina loses confidence, then we will lose a very very good ODI and T20 player. As far as Pujara is concerned, you dont get in confidence by sitting on the reserve bench especially after having a memorable debut.

  • SamRoy on December 25, 2010, 4:21 GMT

    We have a lot of problems. The biggest problem is that the selectors have failed to identify the next generation of middle order batsman in tests for India. I think a lot of blame has to go the chairman of selectors Srikkanth. This guy was a below par test batsmen (probably as good as Afridi) and doesn't have any idea about a good organized defence. Otherwise right after Sourav retired; Pujara, Rohit Sharma or Rahane should have got chances; people who have organized defences and yet can play aggresively. Raina and Yuvraj do not have good defences, their foot movement is terrible against both short as well as full balls. Murali Vijay is a good player of the front foot but has non-existent back foot strokeplay which means he can fail badly in bouncier pitches (especially against Morkel). Future of Indian middle order should be Rohit, Virat, Rahane and Pujara. Rohit may have been a failure in ODI's but he has the potential to be a world class test batsman. Virat possible India Captain.

  • Kannan18 on December 25, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    It seems funny - All worried about our 6th Batting slot .What about our bowling department.Especially 2 quickies and 1 world class spinner? In seaming,bouncing conditions ,our quickies cant do anything!!!!! Dhoni used to support them while playing in sub-continent talking abt flat pitches - what abt now? Bhajji needs to go back to basics - Domestic cricket

  • Simha99 on December 25, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    Raina is today's Michael Bevan. @MandarSathe, NO.. just because he can do well in ODIs and T20s it does not mean he can do well in tests.

  • Kannan18 on December 25, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    Bring on YUVI. Hes a class player and seems to have regained his focus on cricket. Remember,his issues were with attitude not with lack of talent. I imagine Dhoni doesnt like him personally(ofcourse compared with Raina/Jadeja).But its team India - Dhoni's personal relations shldnt matter.Bring on the best in business ! BTW,I think Pujara is just over-hyped player.I clearly remember his techinque in the IPL and the one Test innings - There was nothing extra ordinary

  • on December 25, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    I think India needs to stick with Suresh Raina. We make too much out of technique on bouncy tracks. But I am concerned with the fact that nothing much has changed for Raina post 2006 despite having Gary Kirsten a SA left hander around to work with him. If Raina fails in all 3 tests against SA then we need to look beyond for sure.

  • on December 25, 2010, 3:41 GMT

    Raina should be given rest becous of his short of confidence,you must give chance to Pujara, Raina has given enough chance to prove also he is a such a player who bats well in flat pitches,Badrinath had many good season dono y he is not considered for the middle order, he must given oppurtunity,Saha should be replaced by P.Patel he is also doing well,D.Karthik shouldnt be considered.

  • big_cheese on December 25, 2010, 2:53 GMT

    I.Arasan - One doesn't need to think out of the box. All one needs to do is 'think out-of-Tamil Nadu'.

    Pujara doubtful??? The kid is 'certified' by experts like Sunny bhai. What else you want?

  • MandarSathe on December 25, 2010, 1:44 GMT

    And must add don't discount Yuvi.... He is down now but a batsmen of sheer class and in long run he will be Indian test team's core batsmen in middle order....

  • on December 25, 2010, 1:30 GMT

    This guy for sure is not a test material. Instead of working on his technique, he boasts of attitude and other things. Another Yuvaraj in the making. A tailor-made T20 and one-day batsman he sure to suffer in bouncy tracks though still would score plenty in subcontinent pitches in all formats. Give Pujara a chance and see what he is capable of in challenging conditions. Might be tad better than Raina at least

  • MandarSathe on December 25, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    If a batsmen can score 100s in ODI & T20s at international level then there is no reason why he can't do the same in Tests as well. Yes Raina might have technical flaws and may be found wanting to bat for long hours to save tests. But I feel coming at no.6 it is sufficient if Raina comes and scores quick fire 50-70 or 100 on given days... Just like MS Dhoni scored 90 off 100 balls the other day in first test..... So are we saying MSD has technique for good fast bowling? No.. but he played attcking cricket and got rich dividends.. And I expect same from Raina too.... I am very confident Raina will play positively in 2nd test and score quick fire 50 at least... if not 100.. People who are worrying what will happen if Fab-3 retires.. i will say don't worry n think too far ahead... there are likes of Rohit Sharama,Badrinath, Rahane n may be some Jr Tendulkars playing on streets of some part of India who will come to lime light when time comes.. As of now..Raina is perfect for no.6.

  • nzcricket174 on December 25, 2010, 1:10 GMT

    Same thing that happened to Australia is going to happen to India. On top for a while but then all their giants retire. For Australia it was Warne, McGrath and Langer (and later on Hayden). For India it will be Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. If they don't have replacements for these guys India are going to be in trouble.

  • mrmonty on December 25, 2010, 0:53 GMT

    Pujara in the frame! Why does not he have the place sealed already? Why is the Indian team management deluding itself with Raina's chances of a revival. The guy can't handle short stuff on Indian pitches. If he plays, he will be a walking wicket.

  • McGorium on December 25, 2010, 0:35 GMT

    @I.Arasan: I am not sure M. Vijay plays the short ball all that well; I can recall instances where he has got into trouble against the short ball, though admittedly he's better than Raina in that department. In fact, I think he's better than Raina in tests, period. Raina was, and will be pretty useless in tests overseas. However, I (personal opinion) felt Pujara played short-pitched stuff much better, and looked a better batsman than Vijay, in the one game that I've seen him. Vijay is certainly not as good as Pujara, especially when you consider the age and experience difference between the two. Pujara is, on pure potential, a replacement for Rahul Dravid. I don't see where M. Vijay fits in the team: the openers are fine, and Vijay doesn't score quickly, so the middle-order isn't his place either. He will be, I think, the new Akash Chopra: someone who got the grunt work when someone was injured and nobody else wanted the job. Until someone better than him takes his job.

  • on December 25, 2010, 0:29 GMT

    Bring Vijay or Pujara in. Vijay would be first choice. He seems technically sound and he has proven himself in Australia. Just because Raina typically plays at No. 6 is no reason to exclude others who may play at 1, 2 or 3. I am not in favor of Raina not because of his poor scores but because he doesn't seem to have the technique to last an enduring innings. I don't see him batting for 2-3 sessions. Pujara and Vijay - I have watched and I think they would be able to handle the conditions. Raina and Sreenath are weak links and they need to be corrected for the next 2 matches.

  • Rahulbose on December 25, 2010, 0:27 GMT

    Raina should be given a good run, otherwise might endup like Yuvraj.

  • leobybirth on December 24, 2010, 23:58 GMT

    i reckon your not doing his confidence any good if you dont play him. Play hi. let him be beaten once, twice and maybe for the rest of the series. its important that he feels the pressure for he will have to deal with this kind of pressure once peopel like sachin, vvs and rahul are retired. that said, the rest of the squad too requires a test every now and then so for that reason, rest raina for another series and ply them...technically you are not dropping him then.

  • on December 24, 2010, 22:53 GMT

    Dhoni stop doing stupid favours to your Chennai Super Kings team mates.Start protecting Indian cricket. I hope you will.

  • on December 24, 2010, 22:38 GMT

    How long can SRT, VVS and Dravid go on? its past the time to bringing in fresh blood. Vijay is a great batsmen, yes you heard me say it. He is a truly great batsmen in the making. No other batsmen has impressed me as much as Vijay has (out of the new crop of youngsters). Pujara and Mukund are also very good and need to be considered ahead of raina. Badrinath should also be given another chance because he is streets ahead of the most of the others.

  • SSharmaAndIndia on December 24, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    I feel a little for Raina, the lad is clearly very talented, but there is no doubt he is just a limited overs player. In fact, I have always been against his inclusion, he hasn't really even proved himself in first-class cricket. I always felt that his technique and temperament would be exposed in the longer versions of the game. However, after his debut ton you couldn't argue against his selection for the next few tests. There is no doubt he needs to be replaced, but everyone keeps saying Pujara, I like him and although he is the natural replacement, we should take a moment to consider Vijay, I think he has a little more experience would be better suited. Both are good players, nonetheless.

  • on December 24, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    Why raina is taken in the team given his from and technique. he is good for one day and 20-20. The bad tem selection has cost us the last test match

  • srisri on December 24, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    A naive person like me could predict that Raina will get bounced out in 1st test and Pujara will come in for 2nd and 3rd tests. It is not a rocket science. Just get Pujara in for Raina. It has nothing to do with Raina's one-day form. He will be part of our WC team, not Pujara as WC is in sub-continent not SA. I am 100% sure Raina will fail in SA tests but he will shine in WC.

  • shaunakdu on December 24, 2010, 20:26 GMT

    Currently, team`s batting relies on Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman. These giants are going to retire within next three years. India should start thinking about their replacement now. If they have a young technically strong candidate, enough chances should be given to him so that he can learn key attributes of the game from these giants. Now is the time. Raina is pretty good, no doubt about that. However, if Pujara is more technically sound then he should be given a chance ahead of him.

  • rrm786 on December 24, 2010, 20:14 GMT

    RAINA is very good bastman for limited overs but PUJARA is best for test that is no brainner...that should be easy call

  • on December 24, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    Why not M.Vijay??? he is a opener and plays short ball well, has all shorts in the book..... middle order is a cushion for him..... team management should consider him, coz he has grown as a batsman over the years.... Pujara doubtful???? Raina for sure :-) MSD has confidence in him :-) .......

  • Abhimanyu on December 24, 2010, 20:00 GMT

    Well, it took only "ONE" innings to show that Pujara can play on back-foot and can play pull shots against the best fast bowlers in world cricket. Raina on the other hand has played 106 ODIs, 8 test, 18 T20s and still have not shown that he can play on back-foot, hence making him only a half-batsmen. We don't want to see bang-bang and out (Raina and Yusuf Pathan) like players in the Indian team. Forget about Tests and ODIs, players like Raina and Yusuf, on a green, bouncy track, are not even good enough for T20 cricket. We all know what happened in the T20 World Cup in the West Indies........

  • on December 24, 2010, 19:59 GMT

    Raina will come back to form just like Gambhir .But Pujara or Rahane are better choice

  • CaughtAndBowled on December 24, 2010, 19:56 GMT

    It makes sense to give a player a good run before chucking him out but only if you can see potential. I am afraid that in current state, Raina is not a good enough player for test cricket especially in testing South African conditions. Raina got to go and Pujara is the obvious choice.

  • hatrick26 on December 24, 2010, 19:48 GMT

    Raina should have stayed on as ODI specialist. He should have not brought into Tests. I had this opinion even when he scored a century in his first test. Some batsmen are just better in one format.Now his confidence is gone and his ODI form might also suffer.Pujara or any other batsmen with good technique must have been blooded for tests. India desperately needs a left hand bat in the middle order with good technique.

  • ramugudi on December 24, 2010, 19:35 GMT

    I think we have to learn to be little patient when grooming an youngster into a test team! We have to understand that the only way for a player to improve himself is to give an opportunity. Please remember that there are three players in line for retirement in the next couple of years!! Therefore, I would typically go with Mahi's philosophy of giving player more opportunities to learn and establish in the team!

  • on December 24, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    It's worth remembering that 100 in T20s came against the same attack in essence. He's a good enough player to get by.

  • Tim40621 on December 24, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Dont all you people feel playing Pujara will be to big a step hes only played 1 test, an he'll be up against to fantastic quicks on most likely a lively track. Having said that ive hardly seen Pujara play so i cant say to much, but i must say what ive seen of Murli Vijay seems good enough for me.

  • MrCrane on December 24, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    I think Pujara should replace Raina. The way Raina got out in first test shows that he is not the right choice for Tests. He always anticipates the short ball coming his way and he is always found wanting. It's better for him to go back to nets and work on his technique. He has been given a fair chance in tests and he hasn't done much except the SL series. Team management has to take a call as they did while dropping yuvraj who was then out of form. As article has rightly mentioned, life has come a complete circle for Raina. I fear he might be termed as a flat track bully who cannot play on bouncy pitches which ,mind you,people have started calling him already.

  • Finn92 on December 24, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    Purjara has to have a permananent place soon, we don't want another Badrinath on our hands but then again I think he is a lot more talented than Badri. Raina is a good one-day batsman but he doesn't seem to know how or where to score his runs in Test matches and I don't think he has the ability to go 20-30 balls without scoring and just getting his eye in. You can rule out his hundred and fifties ashe got them in easy conditions. I think Eoin Morgan has the same problem.

  • arun_cheers on December 24, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Raina OUT. Pujara IN. The team cant afford to keep out a quality test player like Pujara and that too in testing conditions like South Africa.

  • harssud on December 24, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Sidharth, right on the target. Raina technique is flawed...even in the one dayers he has been trying to come up to the pitch of the ball or has most of the time left bouncier balls. Pujara needs to be given same amount of chances as raina has been given. By all standards this series is important; and mgmt needs to think beyond raina.

  • on December 24, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    It is too difficult to fathom...the kind of shots he played in both the innings. When one knows before hand that one is going into the field in a crisis situation...the least expected shot from one would be poking into those harmless short pitched balls. What is the use of being dangerous player in one format when you don't read the situation and balls in another. As far as Indian batting is concerned, the competition is too fierce at the moment that such an ordinary performance can take Raina in same league as Yuvraj is in. But then there were other players who did not have any clue to that lethal bowling of Dale and Morkel either. As far as Indian bowling is concerned, I guess, nothing can be improved there. This is what it is. Zaheer's career is on the verge of biting the dust sooner than later.

  • Anandp2208 on December 24, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    If we think dropping Raina will bring down his confidence then what do you think of yuvraj who is overseen for Raina.Everyone in playing eleven is representing team India that alone should motivate them.Raina is a sure ODI player.By any means, pujra is a better test player than Raina, we sould play him in the next test particularly when our batting totally fails on fresh green top.

  • ABdareVinniers on December 24, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    India seriously need to consider picking Pujara ahead of Raina in the upcoming tests. Raina began his Test career in great style with a century followed by a half century but has since dipped. Those who call him a flat track bully can no longer do so! Fact of the matter is, he's even struggling on flat decks. Chris Martin exposed him outside the off stump with Raina simply poking at balls. Later on in the NZ series, he was undone by Vettori's tight bowling and some rash shots. India need lower order resistance and Raina just isn't providing it. Harbhajan is most definitely not going to do what he did against NZ to SA with Morkel and Steyn. If all that wasn't enough, he gave Kallis his only 2 wickets in the match who is an ageing slow medium, it must be said. Drop the guy and bring in SOMEONE, even if it isn't Pujara.

  • on December 24, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    Pujara has performedwell in the only test he played. Raina still needs to improve his technique in greener tracks. In this very important match Pujara should play.

  • on December 24, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    I will go with Pujara.....

  • Tim40621 on December 24, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    Raina is a class player his one-day performances show it, but against top class fast bowling he's got to show a better temprament. I wouldnt be convinced with him coming in if the bowlers are on top in a test. India need young players to bat time like Dravid. Murli Vijay would be my pick for Durban.

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  • Tim40621 on December 24, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    Raina is a class player his one-day performances show it, but against top class fast bowling he's got to show a better temprament. I wouldnt be convinced with him coming in if the bowlers are on top in a test. India need young players to bat time like Dravid. Murli Vijay would be my pick for Durban.

  • on December 24, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    I will go with Pujara.....

  • on December 24, 2010, 17:42 GMT

    Pujara has performedwell in the only test he played. Raina still needs to improve his technique in greener tracks. In this very important match Pujara should play.

  • ABdareVinniers on December 24, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    India seriously need to consider picking Pujara ahead of Raina in the upcoming tests. Raina began his Test career in great style with a century followed by a half century but has since dipped. Those who call him a flat track bully can no longer do so! Fact of the matter is, he's even struggling on flat decks. Chris Martin exposed him outside the off stump with Raina simply poking at balls. Later on in the NZ series, he was undone by Vettori's tight bowling and some rash shots. India need lower order resistance and Raina just isn't providing it. Harbhajan is most definitely not going to do what he did against NZ to SA with Morkel and Steyn. If all that wasn't enough, he gave Kallis his only 2 wickets in the match who is an ageing slow medium, it must be said. Drop the guy and bring in SOMEONE, even if it isn't Pujara.

  • Anandp2208 on December 24, 2010, 18:15 GMT

    If we think dropping Raina will bring down his confidence then what do you think of yuvraj who is overseen for Raina.Everyone in playing eleven is representing team India that alone should motivate them.Raina is a sure ODI player.By any means, pujra is a better test player than Raina, we sould play him in the next test particularly when our batting totally fails on fresh green top.

  • on December 24, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    It is too difficult to fathom...the kind of shots he played in both the innings. When one knows before hand that one is going into the field in a crisis situation...the least expected shot from one would be poking into those harmless short pitched balls. What is the use of being dangerous player in one format when you don't read the situation and balls in another. As far as Indian batting is concerned, the competition is too fierce at the moment that such an ordinary performance can take Raina in same league as Yuvraj is in. But then there were other players who did not have any clue to that lethal bowling of Dale and Morkel either. As far as Indian bowling is concerned, I guess, nothing can be improved there. This is what it is. Zaheer's career is on the verge of biting the dust sooner than later.

  • harssud on December 24, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Sidharth, right on the target. Raina technique is flawed...even in the one dayers he has been trying to come up to the pitch of the ball or has most of the time left bouncier balls. Pujara needs to be given same amount of chances as raina has been given. By all standards this series is important; and mgmt needs to think beyond raina.

  • arun_cheers on December 24, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    Raina OUT. Pujara IN. The team cant afford to keep out a quality test player like Pujara and that too in testing conditions like South Africa.

  • Finn92 on December 24, 2010, 18:51 GMT

    Purjara has to have a permananent place soon, we don't want another Badrinath on our hands but then again I think he is a lot more talented than Badri. Raina is a good one-day batsman but he doesn't seem to know how or where to score his runs in Test matches and I don't think he has the ability to go 20-30 balls without scoring and just getting his eye in. You can rule out his hundred and fifties ashe got them in easy conditions. I think Eoin Morgan has the same problem.

  • MrCrane on December 24, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    I think Pujara should replace Raina. The way Raina got out in first test shows that he is not the right choice for Tests. He always anticipates the short ball coming his way and he is always found wanting. It's better for him to go back to nets and work on his technique. He has been given a fair chance in tests and he hasn't done much except the SL series. Team management has to take a call as they did while dropping yuvraj who was then out of form. As article has rightly mentioned, life has come a complete circle for Raina. I fear he might be termed as a flat track bully who cannot play on bouncy pitches which ,mind you,people have started calling him already.