Comeback man Suresh Raina is set to miss the first ODI against New Zealand at Dharamsala as he is down with viral fever. His absence in the Ranji Trophy match against Bengal was confirmed yesterday due to the same reason.
His selection in the ODI squad was questioned by many, and Raina is hoping to answer his critics with some strong performances. With the emergence of youngsters like KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, and Mandeep Singh, Raina finds himself in a sticky situation and will have to fight for a permanent spot in the ODI team from here on. This particular series is extremely vital for Raina and he will be looking to recover as soon as possible.
Raina made a comeback into the ODI squad after one year, and the last match he played was against South Africa in 2015 at Mumbai where South Africa went on to match the then third highest ODI total by scoring 438 in the first innings. India eventually lost the match by 227 runs and Raina failed to perform with the bat as he scored 12.
He was dropped after that series due to his inconsistent performances but his recent domestic showings garnered a recall to the ODI squad to face New Zealand in the five-match ODI series which begins on Sunday.
India will be going into the series without the services of many experienced players such as Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammad Shami. With a bunch of youngsters in the squad, India would have preferred the experience of Suresh Raina in the middle order. It would be interesting to see who would take up his role in the team in the first ODI.
He has played 223 ODIs for India and has notched up 5,568 runs at an average of 35.46 and a high strike rate of 93.76. He has 36 half centuries and 5 centuries to his name, with his highest score of 116 not out coming against Bangladesh way back in 2008.
The news regarding his absence in the first ODI was confirmed by a tweet from the Board of Control for Cricket in India.