Sri Lanka v India, 4th ODI, Colombo July 30, 2012

Raina and the art of finishing

Suresh Raina has been one of India's finest finishers in limited overs cricket for a few years, but he doesn't get his due
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Say what you will about his abilities as a Test batsman, but Suresh Raina showed once again on Saturday why he is one of the finest finishers in limited-overs cricket. He walked in to face Lasith Malinga's hat-trick ball with India needing more than a 100 runs at an asking-rate approaching seven-and-a-half. He saw it gallop to above nine an over after the fall of the centurion Gautam Gambhir before taking India home in the last over along with Irfan Pathan.

The big guns at the top of the India batting order get the hundreds and set up the game but it is Raina who walks into a no-win situation at No. 5 or No. 6. If he gets quick runs, it is said to be because of the platform provided by the preceding batsmen; if he doesn't, he is blamed for failing to utilise it.

What helps Raina is that he backs his style of play, whatever the state of the game. He'll walk in busily, take a few brisk singles to size up the situation, and before you know it, he would have moved into the 20s with a four or two. More often than not, the boundary will be a nudge down the leg side or a guide past point unless he gets a really loose ball. All the time, he'll look to push hard for the second or the third run, putting the fielders under pressure. When he is certain that the time has arrived, he will pull out his signature strokes - the bent-knee loft over extra cover and the heave over midwicket.

There was a time against West Indies last year when he was going for big strokes too early in his innings and perishing. But now, he is back to his usual style of building an innings and has three fifties in his last five outings.

Every now and then, Raina has been rescuing Indian chases when early wickets have fallen or when the asking-rate has risen too high. In only his eighth ODI innings, Raina hit an unbeaten 81 as India recovered from 92 for 5 to chase 227 against England in 2006. He even has a hundred at No. 6, when he took India to 245 from 60 for 5 in a tri-series final against Sri Lanka in 2010. Probably the most memorable instance is when he hit a quick unbeaten 34 to help Yuvraj Singh lift India into the 2011 World Cup semi-final. India were 187 for 5 chasing Australia's 260 when Raina came in for only his second game of the tournament, with Yusuf Pathan having been preferred over him earlier.

The situation was more dire on Saturday, in that Raina was the only specialist batsmen remaining. India had lost MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma to the first two balls of the batting Powerplay; they lost Gambhir three overs later. Raina had only Irfan for company with R Ashwin to follow. Both men are not bad with the bat, but you wouldn't bet on them single-handedly turning a game around with it. Raina was on seven when Irfan walked in. He would end on 65, Irfan on 34 - a creditable supporting act - with the partnership worth 92 off 67.

Yes, there were some edges that brought fours, Sri Lanka missed a couple of run-out chances, Raina was even dropped on 19, by substitute fielder Sachithra Senanayake, but there was also lots of sensible running by the duo, and nerveless boundary hitting by Raina when needed.

To Irfan's credit, he gave the strike regularly to Raina without trying much daredevilry himself but it was the latter who had to rein in the asking-rate, which had risen to 9.37 at the start of the 44th over. It was in this over, bowled by Isuru Udana, that the game started to turn around. Raina managed a couple of fours, heaving past short fine leg and outside-edging past short third man.

Then came the big moment. Malinga returned in the 45th to bowl the first of his remaining three overs. Fifty-two needed off six overs, including three from Malinga - a lot of IPL sides will tell you that it is much harder than an asking-rate of 8.66.

If you give him an opportunity the way we did, he will finish the game off so credit to him
Mahela Jayawardene

Against Raina, even Malinga does not favour the yorker. Three of the four deliveries he bowled to Raina in that over were short balls. Raina expectedly could not do much with them, but he made sure he guided the fourth, a yorker outside off, past the wicketkeeper for four. With two men waiting at backward point for a squarer stroke. Irfan did the same off the last ball of the over, and Raina finished the game after that.

Angelo Mathews was lofted over extra cover for four and Malinga was heaved in trademark Raina fashion over long-on for six, the ball remaining in the air long enough and travelling far enough to firmly signal that the turnaround was complete.

As a reminder of how close the margin is in such tight finishes, there was another inside-edged four, off Mathews, and a throw, again by Mathews, that would have run out Raina by quite some distance, had it hit.

Mahela Jayawardene rued the missed opportunities but gave credit to Raina and Irfan. "Raina batted really well and [there was] good support from Irfan as well," Jayawardene said. "You needed another guy to go along with that. He is a quality player. If you give him an opportunity the way we did, he will finish the game off so credit to him."

Jayawardene said he could have tried bowling a spinner at the death in hindsight but wasn't sure about it with some dew around. "I felt that the spinners may not get any grip, the fast bowlers were struggling a bit as well so that's something I probably think [in] hindsight [but] at that particular moment I felt the quicks were bowling well. Still we had an opportunity [but] we dropped a catch and [missed] a couple of those run outs. Few edges [went for runs], that's how the game goes. Any other day things would have turned around in our favour but today they played some good cricket aswell. Those two [Raina and Irfan] batted really well, they put on 92 runs in that situation. They deserved to win."

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY fr600 on | July 31, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Yeah, one time good finish becomes art. What a joke.

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | July 31, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    @Prafulla Surve - I do not deny India have had the upper hand against SL in head-to-head contests of late. My point is that the team according to 'kavindeven' is so hopeless that "ICC should only Give Bangladesh or Ireland to play with Sri Lanka" has a habit of thoroughly embarrassing the 'World Champs' and bowling them out for paltry scores, despite having "greats" like Raina in the team. Check this scorecard out : http://www.espncricinfo.com/sl-tri2010/engine/match/456666.html

    btw, talking about not-making the finals, anyone remember CB Series in Australia this year?

  • POSTED BY SudharsanVM on | July 31, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    @drjustinrobert, u missed out Rohit in ur list. As per gambhir few days back, he was in plans for 2015 WC. Just for fun :)

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    @SachTLG, Yeah, and that's 12 years back. After that, too many things have changed. Indian team has changed a lot. After that, don't forget India beat the same Sri Lanka in world Cup final and beating them in their home now. When was the last time SL won 2 matches in a bilateral ODI series in India? Not since 2000 for sure. So forget the past, come back to present.

    Also, in recent months, din't they lose all matches in Asia cup? Agreed India could not reach final but at least they beat SL and Pakistan while SL lost all matches.

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | July 31, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    @wonderstar1 - Ok so, did the rest of India's celebrated batting line up also get out to inside edges at Hambantota ? Or do the world champions rely entirely on Raina and Rohith Sharma?

  • POSTED BY Ameeega on | July 31, 2012, 3:21 GMT

    @Kavindeven, MJ is not making excuses. Read the article to the end. "Raina batted really well and [there was] good support from Irfan as well," Jayawardene said. "You needed another guy to go along with that. He is a quality player. If you give him an opportunity the way we did, he will finish the game off so credit to him." / today they played some good cricket aswell. Those two [Raina and Irfan] batted really well, they put on 92 runs in that situation. They deserved to win." What else you wanted MJ to say? And I would like to request to read MSD's media conference after 2nd ODI. If you drag SL to the level of Bangladesh or Ireland (no disrespect to those team at all from me), India should not go for a nail biter. Having said that, As a SL fan, I respect all balanced commenters from IND and love reading constructive comments from them.

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | July 31, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    @Eat_sleep_play_cricket - I guess it hurts even more to be knowing that the so called 'hopeless' sri lanka who are in the same level as Bangla and Ireland bowled out the 'worlds best batting line up' for 54 on a belter of a pitch at Sharjah - where Jayasuriya alone scored 189. My my even "SRT" played in that game right?

  • POSTED BY S.S.Sagar on | July 31, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    Better Than Dhoni??! Haha.. Never.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    @George_Matt: Applying same rule, Shane Warne is not at all a good bowler cause he never performed in India.

    And regarding performance, What was Ricky Ponting's performance against India in India in his first two tours. He must have been extremely poor then.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    @Greg_smith:Agree. But Bevan is a thing of past. Just because Bevan was good when he was playing, should not people appreciate the current talent? Or are you just sad that this article praises Indian batsman? We all appreciate Brett Lee as a fast bowler and nobody says - ohh! He is just good by Australian standards, real fast bowlers were from West Indies of the past.

    And by the way, Raina is way better than any Australian new-age-middle-order batsman. The current standards of Australia in the middle ordre batting - with the likes of Steven Smith, Forrest - are in fact poorer. Raina is much much better than them. Come on dude, give credit where its due.

  • POSTED BY fr600 on | July 31, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    Yeah, one time good finish becomes art. What a joke.

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | July 31, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    @Prafulla Surve - I do not deny India have had the upper hand against SL in head-to-head contests of late. My point is that the team according to 'kavindeven' is so hopeless that "ICC should only Give Bangladesh or Ireland to play with Sri Lanka" has a habit of thoroughly embarrassing the 'World Champs' and bowling them out for paltry scores, despite having "greats" like Raina in the team. Check this scorecard out : http://www.espncricinfo.com/sl-tri2010/engine/match/456666.html

    btw, talking about not-making the finals, anyone remember CB Series in Australia this year?

  • POSTED BY SudharsanVM on | July 31, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    @drjustinrobert, u missed out Rohit in ur list. As per gambhir few days back, he was in plans for 2015 WC. Just for fun :)

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2012, 4:53 GMT

    @SachTLG, Yeah, and that's 12 years back. After that, too many things have changed. Indian team has changed a lot. After that, don't forget India beat the same Sri Lanka in world Cup final and beating them in their home now. When was the last time SL won 2 matches in a bilateral ODI series in India? Not since 2000 for sure. So forget the past, come back to present.

    Also, in recent months, din't they lose all matches in Asia cup? Agreed India could not reach final but at least they beat SL and Pakistan while SL lost all matches.

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | July 31, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    @wonderstar1 - Ok so, did the rest of India's celebrated batting line up also get out to inside edges at Hambantota ? Or do the world champions rely entirely on Raina and Rohith Sharma?

  • POSTED BY Ameeega on | July 31, 2012, 3:21 GMT

    @Kavindeven, MJ is not making excuses. Read the article to the end. "Raina batted really well and [there was] good support from Irfan as well," Jayawardene said. "You needed another guy to go along with that. He is a quality player. If you give him an opportunity the way we did, he will finish the game off so credit to him." / today they played some good cricket aswell. Those two [Raina and Irfan] batted really well, they put on 92 runs in that situation. They deserved to win." What else you wanted MJ to say? And I would like to request to read MSD's media conference after 2nd ODI. If you drag SL to the level of Bangladesh or Ireland (no disrespect to those team at all from me), India should not go for a nail biter. Having said that, As a SL fan, I respect all balanced commenters from IND and love reading constructive comments from them.

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | July 31, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    @Eat_sleep_play_cricket - I guess it hurts even more to be knowing that the so called 'hopeless' sri lanka who are in the same level as Bangla and Ireland bowled out the 'worlds best batting line up' for 54 on a belter of a pitch at Sharjah - where Jayasuriya alone scored 189. My my even "SRT" played in that game right?

  • POSTED BY S.S.Sagar on | July 31, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    Better Than Dhoni??! Haha.. Never.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    @George_Matt: Applying same rule, Shane Warne is not at all a good bowler cause he never performed in India.

    And regarding performance, What was Ricky Ponting's performance against India in India in his first two tours. He must have been extremely poor then.

  • POSTED BY on | July 31, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    @Greg_smith:Agree. But Bevan is a thing of past. Just because Bevan was good when he was playing, should not people appreciate the current talent? Or are you just sad that this article praises Indian batsman? We all appreciate Brett Lee as a fast bowler and nobody says - ohh! He is just good by Australian standards, real fast bowlers were from West Indies of the past.

    And by the way, Raina is way better than any Australian new-age-middle-order batsman. The current standards of Australia in the middle ordre batting - with the likes of Steven Smith, Forrest - are in fact poorer. Raina is much much better than them. Come on dude, give credit where its due.

  • POSTED BY drjustinrobert on | July 31, 2012, 0:08 GMT

    Team to be groomed for World Cup 2015, Sehwag and Gambhir for Nos.1 and 2, ( but no guarantees; Rahane & Tiwary as potential openers if anyone loses form or is not 100% fit), Kohli and Raina Nos. 3 and 4, Dhoni & Yuvaraj at Nos. 5 & 6, Irfan & Ashwin at Nos. 7 & 8 (Harbhajan or Ojha or Rahul Sharma back-ups), Zaheer at No. 9, Awana or Praveen or Umesh or Dinda or Sreesanth or any other talented superfast bowler fill 10 and 11 slot. We need 3 dedicated pace bowlers to hit the deck hard. The batting lineup should be rotated LHB/RHB nicely to confuse the opponents. Raina/ Dhoni/Yuvaraj should be groomed as finishers if chasing. Irfan should be trained as a swinging medium pacer and capable lower order batsman. Yuvaraj, Raina, Sehwag and Kohli should also be trained to bowl spin intelligently to add variety if the one specialist bowler gets hammered. For 2 years, this team should be given a long run. First and foremost, Duncan Fletcher should be fired and someone like Gary Kirsten hired.

  • POSTED BY bigdhonifan on | July 30, 2012, 22:27 GMT

    @Greg_Smith Who is Bevan???? What his average on winning games? Or what his average batting second??? If not Raina , we have MSD - The greatest ODI finisher of all time. May be MSD =100 Bevan's

  • POSTED BY S.Jagernath on | July 30, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Suresh Raina played an innings that just happened to be full of luck.Raina is technically poor & will continue to fail away from the sub-continent.He seems to adore the flat pitches in Sri Lanka.His innings at Centurion still make me laugh!

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    This is exactly what Dhoni and few highly educated and also many educated people who have played the game seriously& played crickets in white clothes with a leather ball ,maybe it a matting wicket ,will understand That to win games u need atleast 1 like him (raina) in a team even if he succeds 3 times out of 10 it is pretty goodwhen u have the strongest batting line up in world cricket,with even now without Sachin .That is why Dhoni prefers JADEJA RAVINDRA ,as he in the same mould to raina ,both excellent fielders,When u play in end/aus/s/sfrica/newzland conditions u need\ technike,(prob key board) need sachin /Good Opener/gambhir/shewag/Raina//Dhoni/Irfan/Ravindra jadeja/ashwin/zaheer/oood spinner for conditions

  • POSTED BY warneneverchuck on | July 30, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    Raina shud open the innings with Pathan

  • POSTED BY SanjivAwesome on | July 30, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Raina has good temperament and a lion heart. Enough to make up for a good Number 6.

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | July 30, 2012, 18:32 GMT

    @Greg_Smith: Your comment is a bit daft. Does it ever occur to you that there can be more than one good finisher in the game of cricket? And since you started the comparisons, Dhoni has proved to be a better finisher than Bevan. Bevan has a better average (53 compared to Dhoni's 51) but a strike rate of 74 compared to Dhoni's 88. Bevan's poor strike rate means that he always had someone else doing the heavy hitting while he rotated strike.

  • POSTED BY SLMaster on | July 30, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    Raina didn't play a good game. His game is not much different from Rohit. But Raina was lucky while latter wasn't. How many unintentional edges by Raina and a drop catch. Indian will know when they run out luck = Game 2. True hero is Gambir. He should have been the MoM.

  • POSTED BY manisacumen on | July 30, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    I have no doubt india won because of Raina only. but he had some good amounts of luck. and one pathan to support him. Raina is the best finisher for india along with Dhoni. He should not come ahead of 6. We don't want his 100s. We want him to win us matches from impossible situations like yesterday. And there is a definitely a case for Dhoni coming up higher in the order permanently. In Raina's early career he was a culprit; because of his impetuosity, we lost quite a few matches whether batting 1st or 2nd. the last time was when he let down Sachin and india when the true genius hit his all time best 175. His foolish bravado cost us that match. One more thing i don't llike about him is his raising his bat for his 50, even when we are still a along way away from victory. A mild acknowledgement to the crowd is enough.

  • POSTED BY awan6464 on | July 30, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    Probably the most memorable instance is when he hit a quick unbeaten 34 to help Yuvraj Singh lift India into the 2011 World Cup semi-final................ I guess u got it wrong............. It was quarter final

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    @stevegridley, Pal England and Australia are not the only places where cricket is been played and for your information, India may have lost the recent matches in these places, but not so long ago the same India won the series and tri-series too, with the same finishers..Ask England/Australia to bat in the sub-continent or worse in the UAE!! Results show right? Much better logic appreciated!

  • POSTED BY Hello13 on | July 30, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    Why does pointing Average mid 20's in the subcontinent if tracks are so flat? Australia and England only win in home conditions. fact

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    funny that we were not able to find a decent replacement for Kumble i know he is irreplaceable but Ashwin, rahul sharma and pragyan ojha are all way short in the attitude and spirit which kumble had in abundance. these guys are all pretenders but no strong contenders here less said about ashwin better he came with a bang but now is whimpering along.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Raina may be less talented than Rohit but is more determined.Just hope he sorts his game at Test Level.See him as a future leader.

  • POSTED BY VJGS on | July 30, 2012, 16:11 GMT

    As the article rightly pointed out, Raina is one of the favorites for critics. When he does play well, no one gives him any credit and say that it is due to a good start. When he doesn't play well, people just pounce on him with no mercy. His average doesn't do much justice to the way he plays either. How can any batsman batting at No 5 or 6 be judged on their average? Whenever they come in, they are expected to hit lots of boundaries or perish trying to do that. But the most obvious fact is that after Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina is the most talented youngster in the team.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 16:10 GMT

    again raina........ what a good finisher......... and also pathan should play regularly because he is a genuine allrounder for indian team

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    yuvi iz the big finisher india want really yuvi in the side to maintain the balance not raina or rohith or jadeja

  • POSTED BY Perera32 on | July 30, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    Wasn't it the 3rd ODI not 4th or is it because its a preview for the 4th ODI. Ok Raina is a good player, He edged a lot of fours, should've been out twice but still hung in there. Luck is an important thing in cricket and can't really blame a player if they're lucky, still Raina played decently. But is there a need to make a complete article for an Innings like this?. In my view Ghambhir and Angelo Mathews played far better than Raina.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Same thing can be said about English and Aussie cricket. They can't win outside their home territory against any decent test nation. Last English win away from home was in the Ashes against a crippled and out of form Aussie side. Aussie's were humiliated by the English in the recent ODI. They looked listless and hopelessly outmatched. The Aussies also lost a home test against NZ - like first time in 2 decades. The English were in turn completely destroyed by Pakistani spin in UAE tests. The English are now being systematically destroyed by the Proteas in their own backyard. So, before you call out India and the other sub continent teams, look at your own teams first.

  • POSTED BY thalalara on | July 30, 2012, 15:18 GMT

    Criticizing Indian Batsmen has become a fad, especially on their skills of adapting to fast & bouncy track. Is batting skill is all about playing fast bowling on fast tracks??? I can bet none of the current batsmen in Australia, South African and England can survive genuine fast bowlers of yesteryear's, in today's context fast bowlers are toothless, allowed to bowl only one bouncer an over???. Oh god and the kind of protection gears these batsmen wear looks real comedy.....

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 15:08 GMT

    Raina and Rohit are at the opposite end of the totem pole, when it comes to opinionated experts -- one is heavily under-rated an berated about his foibles with the rising ball and the other is tom-tomed as the best available talent in India at the moment. Give this boy, Raina his due.

  • POSTED BY samincolumbia on | July 30, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    @AlexPalmer - Ponting has an average in the 20's on the flat tracks of the sub continent. How can you call someone 'great' with a mediocre average on the supposedly batting paradise. India are the World champs. You must thank your lucky stars that you escaped from a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of England due to rain..HAHAHA.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | July 30, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    India is looking at early options for next ODI WC. I wish they could concentrate on test cricket as well. In Gambhir, Kholi, Pathan and Raina we have a nucleus for next wc team. Others like Pujara, Chand, Mandeep Singh, Rayudu should be looked at.

  • POSTED BY sumit176 on | July 30, 2012, 14:50 GMT

    @stevgridley...seems pain of quarterfinal loss still lingers in ur heart...comm on mate..its been almost 2 years...

  • POSTED BY wonderstar1 on | July 30, 2012, 14:43 GMT

    @sach TLG so is it a crime to bat well in flat tracks??Are flat tarcks not part of cricket? The same excuse that u claim can be said of India in the seond ODI. had the inside edges not hit the stumps both raina and rohit would have settled and scored big one and blown away lanka apart. The series would have been over by now.Fortune favors the brave and raina was brave in the last ODI and hence won it. anyways some ppl wont change forever and no use of telling them the same thing again and again.

  • POSTED BY arunsen on | July 30, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    @AlexPalmer90: What a Joke AlexPalmer90. We had a look at your batsman like Ricky Ponting scoring only 27 runs in 6 innings played in India in 2002 Test Series where India won the series superbly. What do you say for that? We can say that he is not even a batsman if you watch those 6 innings. Struggling to even touch the balls. You Australians will always praise your own team and can't accept other's performances.

  • POSTED BY Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on | July 30, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    @SachTLG - I'm sure mate it must be little harder to watch LANKA being hammered by TEAM INDIA AGIAN, and AGAIN and AGIAN(first is CB series, than Asia cup and now in ISLAND). Also, we were at least better than your teams record of 40 all out which still REMAINS the score to beat by any visiting country on a SEEMING conditions- Good luck LANKA

  • POSTED BY buntyjuggernauts on | July 30, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Inspite of having Irfan, we kept Jadeja in name of all rounder!!! just disgusting... & in the poin discussed about Raina not being able to face Short deliveries, I wud like to say every batsman has some weakness..Not every body can be Rahul Dravid or Ricky!!!

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    @Stevegridley: Mate..you gotta be kidding me or may be you have missed the India tour of England and Aus ODIs...Agreed Raina wasnt good there..but you failed to look at how Dhoni played...England couldn't get him out even once..and you comment on his ability as an ODI batsman overseas..thats funny...

  • POSTED BY praveen4honestremark on | July 30, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    When i see Suresh batting with Dhoni, Dhoni looks slow for me. Such a big stroke maker this guy Suresh is. Ask Dhoni , how vital is this man Suresh and he can answer it better than anyone. Suresh is always a key player. He doesn't have great technique, but he is a guy plays out of his skin and always tries to give above 100%. I want always this guy in my team everywhere in the world. He can field, bat, bowl..what more a captain need??

  • POSTED BY Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on | July 30, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    @AlexPalmer90:Yes! you have seen too many matches in the recent Australian tour of England and I'm sure mate! Australia will regain confidence when they plan LANKA later this year.

  • POSTED BY wizcom_karthik on | July 30, 2012, 13:48 GMT

    this is is really funny to see how people react even when a player is performing and the team is winning!!

  • POSTED BY Trust29k on | July 30, 2012, 13:47 GMT

    Whatever be it....it is to be realized that we have quiet a few good cricketers to fill in the boots of the seniors who should now go off and give the youngsters the opportunity to prove themselves in all format of the game. We compare players but we all need to remember that the players play better in their own backyard or for that matter the areas which they are familiar with. See all teams across the globe. name one player or a team who is superb across countries and scored everywhere in the world all the time. I believe Virat, Raina, Rohit, Manoj, Pujara, Rahane, Uthappa, Dhawan should take over till the next world cup.

  • POSTED BY perl57 on | July 30, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    @Greg_Smith, Bevan?? ROFL. That useless batsman was the hype of Oz. The fact remains that Raina is one of the best finishers of the game. He may be poor in Tests abroad but in ODIs even in Swinging NZ or English Conditions he did perform better than a Ricky Ponting or a Micheal Clarke. Numerous number of times I have seen Bevan get bowled, heck, sometimes between his legs. Thats the plight of Oz batsmen when they are faced with average spinners of Asia. Real test isnot playing on those land mines anymore. It is playing on these sand papers that count.

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | July 30, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    @SteveGridley can say what he wants but INDIA have the ODI world cup. In fact identify which team you support. And we can give you cricinfo stats - India has won all over. You forget they came second to OZ in SA 2003 world cup. Sachin was top scorer in that series. Not forgetting our u19 won in the tournament in OZ a few months back.

  • POSTED BY AlexPalmer90 on | July 30, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    It is clear that IPL performances can only be a benchmark for IPL; nothing else. Otherwise, why would most Indian batsman fail so badly in tough conditions or against good sides! In Australia, most Indian batsman simply gave up and refuse to show some backbone and take on the Aussie bowlers. Improve your domestic league and make your board prepare different pitches. Otherwise, your team will keep getting hammered.

  • POSTED BY AlexPalmer90 on | July 30, 2012, 13:27 GMT

    Finisher, nice joke man. This fellow constantly got out to fast bowlers in Australia, because he could not play the rising delivery. He kept trying to play the pull shots and was getting out cheaply. You guys need to see the Australian players, past/present to see how a proper finisher looks like. Indian batsman's are just mediocre and overrated.

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | July 30, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    This is what Raina's "flat track" abilities have brought his team(s) - A World Cup, two IPL trophies, a CLT20 trophy. Personally he has a strike rate of 92 and an average of 35 - counting all tracks. Who cares about Test cricket when he is doing so well where it really matters?

  • POSTED BY Stanmclean on | July 30, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    India can not provide a proper so called finisher, who plays well everywhere. Look at how Raina did in England and Australia. Even Dhoni does not know how to play overseas. Indian batsman are not good enough to play aboard or even on pitches with some movements. Hopeless bunch of players, who fails miserably against tough opposition. In the last year, India has lost more matches than they have won.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    INDIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  • POSTED BY Bipin_Kumar_Singh on | July 30, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    Raina is really excellent when he hits sixes on mid wicket..........

    Irfan pathan should be given more responsibilty. he is an excellent allrounder.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    @kavindeven.. well, neither Bangladesh nor ireland reach finals or did aus. eng or pak.......Srilanka did..two times in a row and ia m an Indian....

  • POSTED BY kunal_bhatt on | July 30, 2012, 12:21 GMT

    I am reading this article on 30 th July so I think its time you change the date of the article :)

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    Some people just want to criticize people for the sake of it or rather I would say why are we so jealous of our heroes that we try to find fault in them in anything they do and in most cases rather ridiculously! When was the last time Sachin came back and played ODI against Bangladesh and NZL? Yes, he did play Asia cup which is not some bilateral series but a very decent competition considering the size of cricket playing nations (like Euro in Football). If you see the ODI stats of Sachin from last one and half years (from 01 Jan 2010), the only series he has played are: 1. Home series against SA 2. Cricket WC 3. ODI series in Australia 4. Asia cup You can not say any of these were for getting cheap runs. As far as test cricket is concerned, yes he still plays all the matches as much as possible because there is never anything cheap about test matches and its always hard work and our new age batsmen have all got chances and they are yet to take it well.

  • POSTED BY shantiratnamaj on | July 30, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    Kavindeven: please wait untill the end of the series then you can decide for yourself who should play Bangladesh and Ireland.

  • POSTED BY 12kris on | July 30, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    Suresh Raina gallops when he gets going. But I hope they never make the mistake of promoting him up the order. He is very much in the mould of Robin Singh, who is better later in the order.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 11:38 GMT

    I'm from Pakistan and I admit that Dhoni and Raina are NO DOUBT the best finishers in the limited-overs format!

  • POSTED BY Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on | July 30, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    Due? really Mahela? In middle overs, when Jeevan Mendis and Herath troubled Dhoni than DEW was not a factor. I also guess you did not think about DEW when you chose to bat even after winning the toss. Time and Time again, we have seen how good LANKA's bowling unit is - First in CB series, than in Asia cup and now in your own backyard, why dont you just agree that, you lost the plot when you pulled MALINGA out of the attack when he gave you couple of break throughs. I'm sure after losing the next match (and series) your excuse would be "We missed few key players like Sanga or else results would have been different" and the fans will buy into it. - All the best Lanka!

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | July 30, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Abhishek Purohit - I think the title would have been better titled "Suresh Raina and the art of finishing on flat tracks" or "Suresh Raina and the art of finishing on flat tracks with a bit of help from the fielders"

  • POSTED BY 9ST9 on | July 30, 2012, 11:24 GMT

    @Kavindeven - LOL so if sri lanka are such a hopeless team a side that gets bowled out for 130+ by the hopeless Sri Lankans must be super hopeless. and since we are talking about excuses I wonder what we can say about a certain skipper who blames the pitch (on which a hopeless team chased 140 in 20 overs) when his batsmen fail.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    It was third ODI not fourth...

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    Now its time S Raina starts thinking seriously about test cricket. He is gem of a left handed batsman. It would be a shame if he doesnt play and does well for India in longer format. A true potential to be one of the best.

  • POSTED BY guest12345678910 on | July 30, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Talking abt suresh raina brings bme goosebumps!! He is just awesome in everything!! i mean it !! batting fielding and bowling too sometimes !he will be a rising star !! and will guide india to victory in many games i belive so!!!!!!!!

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | July 30, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Finally, an article dedicated to this fantastic cricketer! Raina is a superstar in his own right, and rightly feared, coming in at those moments he is designed for. This young man NEVER walks in when there is no pressure - if he comes after a few big knocks, then he has to go crazy with his scoring rate to push it even further, and if he walks in early, that means the team is in trouble. And yet, time and again, he is the thorn in the flesh of the opposition. Some of his shots are breathtaking and power packed. There won't be any promotion for Raina, because he is that very special cricketer at his position. Let's make sure his heroics don't get lost in the more glamorous achievements of his other teammates!

  • POSTED BY thalalara on | July 30, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Well done Raina, Superb Innings, India needs similar match winning innings outside Sub-continent also... all the best.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    ok a few good innings against an ordinary srilankan attack on good batting tracks and once again raina becomes a good finisher....please....what was his performance against lanka,aus in cb series on australian tracks....this man wont become a good player unless he starts scoring in all conditions

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    What an exceptional leader Mahela is.. He was man enough to admit and give credit to Raina and Irfan that they played well even though they didnt.. If it was Dhoni he would've had some silly excuses like dew, wind, lights are not good etc.. What waste of space this Dhoni has become .. And he proved he likes FLAT TRACKS by promoting himself up the order instead of sending a struggling batsman like Rohit to spend time in the middle. If it was a green top he would be hiding down the order like a dead duck..

  • POSTED BY Stephen_Smith on | July 30, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Raina a finisher, lol. Nice joke. Pls, go and see Bevan, if you truly want to see find out what a actual finisher looks like. But I guess, by Indian standard, this guy is good.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    I am a huge fan of his sixes over midwicket! No bowler should dare bowl full and leg-sidish to this guy!

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    INDIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  • POSTED BY sanmaha on | July 30, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    If India promote Raina at no 4 we can see more elegant style of batting and counterattack by Raina he can also score quickly as brick space

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    every time the Indian team, get a semblance of organisation around its batting, guess who deceides to come back. after having a good time watching Wimbledon, and the Olympics, its time to get a few cheap runs against the weaker opponents on the slow home tracks. these series against Bangladesh and NZ, should be used to blood newbies and give confidence to the likes of Pujara, Rahane, or, Raina. instead, the politics of India will make sure that grandfathers, Laxman and Tendulkar will play. why do people have such thick skins in India ? every person wants to go on till they are with one foot in the grave, in just about every position .

  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | July 30, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Okay...so now Due is the Excuse? These Lankans are so hopeless and full of excuses. What a waste of time type of a team Sri Lanka is. ICC should only Give Bangladesh or Ireland to play with Sri Lanka.

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  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | July 30, 2012, 10:31 GMT

    Okay...so now Due is the Excuse? These Lankans are so hopeless and full of excuses. What a waste of time type of a team Sri Lanka is. ICC should only Give Bangladesh or Ireland to play with Sri Lanka.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 10:33 GMT

    every time the Indian team, get a semblance of organisation around its batting, guess who deceides to come back. after having a good time watching Wimbledon, and the Olympics, its time to get a few cheap runs against the weaker opponents on the slow home tracks. these series against Bangladesh and NZ, should be used to blood newbies and give confidence to the likes of Pujara, Rahane, or, Raina. instead, the politics of India will make sure that grandfathers, Laxman and Tendulkar will play. why do people have such thick skins in India ? every person wants to go on till they are with one foot in the grave, in just about every position .

  • POSTED BY sanmaha on | July 30, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    If India promote Raina at no 4 we can see more elegant style of batting and counterattack by Raina he can also score quickly as brick space

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    INDIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    I am a huge fan of his sixes over midwicket! No bowler should dare bowl full and leg-sidish to this guy!

  • POSTED BY Stephen_Smith on | July 30, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Raina a finisher, lol. Nice joke. Pls, go and see Bevan, if you truly want to see find out what a actual finisher looks like. But I guess, by Indian standard, this guy is good.

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    What an exceptional leader Mahela is.. He was man enough to admit and give credit to Raina and Irfan that they played well even though they didnt.. If it was Dhoni he would've had some silly excuses like dew, wind, lights are not good etc.. What waste of space this Dhoni has become .. And he proved he likes FLAT TRACKS by promoting himself up the order instead of sending a struggling batsman like Rohit to spend time in the middle. If it was a green top he would be hiding down the order like a dead duck..

  • POSTED BY on | July 30, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    ok a few good innings against an ordinary srilankan attack on good batting tracks and once again raina becomes a good finisher....please....what was his performance against lanka,aus in cb series on australian tracks....this man wont become a good player unless he starts scoring in all conditions

  • POSTED BY thalalara on | July 30, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Well done Raina, Superb Innings, India needs similar match winning innings outside Sub-continent also... all the best.

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | July 30, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Finally, an article dedicated to this fantastic cricketer! Raina is a superstar in his own right, and rightly feared, coming in at those moments he is designed for. This young man NEVER walks in when there is no pressure - if he comes after a few big knocks, then he has to go crazy with his scoring rate to push it even further, and if he walks in early, that means the team is in trouble. And yet, time and again, he is the thorn in the flesh of the opposition. Some of his shots are breathtaking and power packed. There won't be any promotion for Raina, because he is that very special cricketer at his position. Let's make sure his heroics don't get lost in the more glamorous achievements of his other teammates!