A sports person is complimented for his/her consistency or bold attitude but on the other hand, criticized for his/her complacency and below standard performance. Unfortunately, this has been the case with Team India’star player Suresh Raina. He is definitely not justifying his immense talent to the fullest, or if I may say, he is no where even close to his best right now.
2013 had been very fruitful for our team. With back to back victories and some prestigious trophies adorning our team’s cabinet, Team India has been on a roll since the beginning of the year.
But our trusted player and captain’s favourite, Suresh Raina’s contribution in each of these series was below par. Every team dies to have a player like Raina in the team. His ability to slog in the last few overs and save runs through his fielding makes him a great prospect for any team.
A team is more versatile and strong on paper with a good mix of left and right combination in the batting line up. Team India is lucky to have players like Raina, Jadeja, Dhawan, Yuvraj, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the team. But sadly things have not looked in great shape for Suresh Raina for quite some time now.
While young players like Jadeja and Dhawan showcased their talents this year, Raina failed to provide a single big innings in any format. Jadeja showed his worth as a bowler in the ICC Champions Trophy and followed it in the series against Australia and Tri series in the Caribbean.
He was also a vital contributor in winning the finals for India with his bat against England at the last Champions Trophy this summer. Coming to Yuvraj Singh, he made a commendable effort to comeback in the team and scored a good half century in the T20 game against the Aussies but couldn’t live up to the ever-rising expectations of the Indian public in the One Day series.
On the other hand, Raina was not even new or a ‘rising star’ like Jadeja or he wasn’t even dropped by the team like Yuvraj. But even still he couldn’t show his true colours on the field. This is a big cause of concern for Team India. He is not only blocking the way of a new player but will soon become a liability to the team. He has simply lost his golden touch with the bat.
No doubt he is a great athlete and always saves 5-10 valuable runs on the field for the team, but he should not forget that his role is much more than that in the team.
Somehow I get a feeling he has taken his place for granted in the team. He is happy and content with scoring 30-40 odd runs and saving a few runs on the field and chipping in with a few wickets if given to bowl by his captain, M.S.Dhoni. This is a sheer waste of talent for a guy like Raina’s calibre.
His career graph has shown no growth in the past few years. This is the reason why he lost the ‘vice captaincy’ to Virat Kohli too. His casual attitude and below average performance has not done him any good. Fans have been dying to see his hard hitting performance for the team for a long time now.
Always a vital cog in the team, Suresh Raina owes a big ton not to himself, but also to his fans to redeem himself and find his lost glory. It is disappointing not see him in the Test line-up and see him consistently juggling with the No.4 or No. 5 position in the shorter format.
It looks as if the team management is somehow trying to fit him into the playing eleven and shuffling him around to extract the ‘perfect performance’ by him. He sure provides a balance to the team and helps the captain with his abilities, but a top notch performance is still due from this Uttar Pradesh lad.
With the World Cup just a year away, he needs to start thinking ahead and focus much more than providing ordinary starts for the team otherwise he will be lost and overshadowed by star players emerging around him like Jadeja, Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rohit Sharma.
I still believe he will bounce back and hope to see him in prime form in the new year so that he provides solidity and greater balance to Team India before the mega event, i.e. World Cup starts Down Under and India begin their title defence. Just like this year was full of incredible performances by Jadeja, Sharma and Kohli, we hope to see their senior teammate, Suresh Raina, return to his ‘best’ and silence his critics.
Best of luck Suresh Raina.