West Indies v India, 5th ODI, Kingston, Jamaica June 17, 2011

Raina can develop into a good captain - Fletcher


The thought hovered in the air for a while at the press conference. Finally someone raised it to Suresh Raina, India's stand-in captain. "India won the games played in slow and low tracks in Trinidad but at the first sign of some bounce and pace, you lost two games."

"It wasn't about bounce," Suresh Raina said. "If you see Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli had a good partnership. They bowled really well at the right areas. We couldn't get a partnership after 35 overs and that hit us. It would have made a difference if we had 30-35 runs more."

But that was exactly the point. Kohli and Rohit tackled the conditions well - it was by no means a real bouncy track of course- but the rest didn't. Raina the captain was very involved but Raina the batsman let himself and the team down. And he knew it. He also knew exactly why he failed in this match and in the series. "I didn't bat well in three games. I was in bit of rush. I was not spending much time in the middle. If I had spent more time it would have been probably been different. My game is very positive. I was thinking if the ball was full I can go over covers but it didn't work out. I will learn from this mistake and hopefully won't [make] them anymore."

Did the captaincy affect his batting? Raina didn't think so but the coach Duncan Fletcher, while lavishing praise on Raina's captaincy skills, offered a different take on the issue. "It does have some sort of an effect. As a young player you are trying to develop your game and trying to establish your game but at the same time you are looking after ten to 14 other youngsters. You can't move away from the fact that captaincy is a very very difficult job. Sometimes your mind can wander. It happens at times. The mind wanders from your game to game of team. During that period you need to be careful. Sometimes it comes in your advantage and helps your game. You just have to accept sometimes you just go through a bad patch. Other times your shots come off and your performance can be match winning."

However, Fletcher felt that Raina handled himself very well as a captain. "For someone who is 24 years of age, to lead a country like India, and a young team like this, he has done a tremendous job. He is the man who puts his head on block; he has to take the criticism and he has held his head high. He has looked positive, his body language has been positive and that is good. He can develop into a good captain in the future."

India won four of the six games during the limited-overs leg of the tour and Fletcher said he will take lots of positives from the team's performances. "As a young side we came with a 4-2 result. You have to include the T20 game as well and it's a very good result. You can talk about that last two which didn't go our way but sometimes it's very very difficult for players to concentrate after taking the series." It's a slightly tricky reasoning. A young side, ideally, should be fired up to play their best not matter what the circumstances. Perhaps it was just Fletcher's way of trying to back up his players.

The likes of S Badrinath, Shikhar Dhawan and Manoj Tiwary were given opportunities in this series but they failed to produce. No player was named but Fletcher was asked whether the failure of some who have done well in domestic cricket but haven't done well in this series was a fair indication of their talent. Fletcher said he didn't see it that way and that he believes they can't be judged on these performances.

"If you see these young guys haven't got really a fair chance. Five games are not enough to judge a player's ability. First of all playing for India there is a lot of pressure. Because of so much talent around, you are going to get very few chances. Hopefully, they will get more chances in the future. They put a lot of pressure on themselves and as a result you don't see their true potential. When you put pressure your technique changes a litte bit and it can alter your performance.

"I have always used a figure of 30 games, especially for batters. You got to look at 30 games to learn to understand one-day cricket. I don't know how many games these youngsters have played. I don't have the stats with me right now. I have heard some great batsmen who say that it took them 50 ODIs to understand the game. The important thing is they learn from this experience."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • vairavanathan on June 18, 2011, 15:31 GMT

    I wont say non of them r poor in skills, Thing is tat their focus is in wrong path(yusuf, badri, raina,tiwary,dawan) in tis series. suppose, If tis series held in india means it totally different outcomes ther. Tis players all still needs maturity. Particularly raina(wen he is at 2nd slip), wandering at behind partiv at each ball is filty. Being captain he has to be cool despite of game results. Always aggressive, hesitating makes disgust us. Its not a problem he is gettin out through out series 4 times with minimum scoring runs. pbm he is been gettin out in same manner 4times not professional will mostly do. Anyway I'm happy with results. By comparin wat our ancestors did in the soil iits very good outcomes made from our youngsters........

  • maximus on June 18, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Raina is not a captain material. Virat can be a better choice. The strokes Raina played and got out in all matches are not responsible ones expected from the captain of a team. The last two matches we lost are because of his stupid batting and Ishants spineless bowling.

  • bismoy on June 18, 2011, 3:45 GMT

    why manoj,badri,dhwan is going to given more chance??? This is a weak bowling attack if they cant score vs westindies better they be playing domestic cricket rest of life...

    With yuvraj,sheawag,gambir and dhoni certain to play next five year with gifted rohit,kohli and raina....it will be very difficult for average player to get more chances in odi...

    dhwan and patel opening the batting is big joke when one has seen sachin and shewag opening....its just class different.

  • Anit on June 18, 2011, 0:35 GMT

    I don't agree that this was a young team. The average age of the team may be over 25. Some level of maturity, grit and desire to perform good is expected at that age. Y. Pathan needs to be shown door. He has only 5 scrore over 50 in 55 games. Also, Badri is 30 years old. He is not a young talent. In fact, Parthiv Patel did much better than Badri.

  • al on June 17, 2011, 21:49 GMT

    @sportsfan: You might right about negative batting but you can't blame on Fletcher (just yet). These are new guys who are trying to cement their places in the side - they will not be in a 100% positive frame of mind.

  • Vividh on June 17, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    Raina is a young player, full of energy but is immature for the post of captaincy, his volatile behavior reflects in his "shots", "decisions" and "control", responsibility and its proper delegation by maintaining optimum levels of "faith", "perseverance" and "control" is what a captain needs to do, he failed on all, he does not accept "reality" and gave false hopes particularly, after margin victory of india over westindies in first three ODI's, it was neither players nor luck but it was the impetus of "world cup win" that made the difference, you have to admit at a stage in your game that yes you are not the one made for the job, especially when you try to assert on something which itself is whimsical, seen in the first three ODI's, in press conference, coach and raina tried to demonstrate the win as the strength but sooner the "loss" zipped their mouths, it is tough, but some things need more stable and more intellect, which seemed lacking in the team.

  • Dummy4 on June 17, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    I think it might be too early to judge players based on one series so dhawan, badri and tiwary should be given a chance to play another 4- 5 stress free series and prove themselves.

    having said that however, i dont personally believe dhawan, tiwary and badri are international class... they just didnt seem comfortable at the crease. these guys would have been ok with the indian team in early 90's but not now. especially with badri given that the current team wont retire for another 5 yrs, theres no point trying him in ODI's.

  • rahul on June 17, 2011, 18:19 GMT

    lets not hide the players by the fact that we have won the series 3-2 .....only three players won us those three matches that are rohit , bhajji, virat and especially in the first and third match it was only rohit and bhajji , this shows of what class other batsman was ....especially badri,dhawan,tiwary ....i am not saying because they did not score runs but the way they played when they were in the crease...just showed no class...rohit though inconsistent in earlier matches but showed his class from first match against australia.....sorry to say badri and dhawan not good enough for int cricket....for sure.

  • Dummy4 on June 17, 2011, 18:05 GMT

    i dont know why people distinguish players who play for tamilnadu when they are selected in the national team.they are not foreigners who get selected to play for india,plz understand that chennai is also a part of india.4-5 years ago, we used to hav most of the players from delhi or mumbai,were there any criticisms during those times? no is the answer.the number of plyrs from each side in this series(csk-4, dc-3, mi-3, ktk-2, kkr-2, rcb-1, kxip-1)some people want to drop some under performed players in this series, but is a series of 5 matches enough to judge a player's talent?even the naturally talented rohit sharma has taken 60 odd matches to prove his metal,so let them be given some more chances to prove themselves on the international stage.i accept that raina hasnt been the best of the captains but everyone has to accept that he is the coolest guy in this team and has much experience than others(except bhaji).but he has improved as a captain after that unforgettable series in zim

  • Gajapathy on June 17, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    India's strength is in the batting... positive batting. since duncan fletcher took over, i notice very negative batting from the indians. that is what caused the failiures of badrinath, dawan and tiwary. raina got out because of three dot balls, not because of the pitch or the wi bowling. indian batsmen should look to score at least singles from early on and they would not feel the pressure to score. to come to the wi and loose points on the icc odi ranking table is pathetic. fletcher is not going to take india to the top but down to no 3 behind srilanka soon. narrowly beating wi 3-2 is pathetic display for a 'wold champion' team! hope india would do better in tests. remember, if you win 2-1, you loosing points in the icc ranking table. champion teams like wi, australia in the past swept test series playing away. if india doesn't win the test series 3-0, you are not a champion side.

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