Will Suresh Raina play in the 2019 World Cup?
Suresh Raina is back and with flying colours. Although he was a bit nervous in the first game, he looked solid in the next two games in the recently concluded T20I series. Raina hit the first ball for a six in the third game of the series and went onto make a free-flowing 43 off 27 balls. He also took the important wicket of David Miller.
He has made a successful comeback to the T20I team. But the question remains when Raina will be back in the ODI team? Does team India miss him? Will he feature in the 2019 ODI World Cup in England?
Raina last played an ODI on 25 October 2015, against South Africa in Mumbai. Since then India have experimented with Yuvraj Singh, Kedhar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik, Ajinkya Rahane, and Shreyas Iyer in the middle-order. However, no one has cemented their place yet.
Indian top three (Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli) have always set up a solid platform on which the middle-order can explode. However, India somehow lose the plot in the final overs. Because of the lack of firepower, India end up putting 300-320 scores instead of 350-360.
So, India need a player who can be the finisher, a player who can bat at No. 4 or No. 5 spot according to the situation. Raina can be that player. He has the credentials to be successful in those positions.
At No. 4, the Uttar Pradesh skipper has scored 675 runs in 18 games at an average of 45.00 and a strike-rate of 98.97. At No. 5, he has made 2402 runs in 81 games at an average of 35.32 and at a strike-rate of 94.87.
Raina gets going from the word go. He often rotates the strike and is good at finding gaps. He can hit the big ones even at the start of an innings.
If India lose first two-three wickets at the end of 25th over, he can play the anchor's role. If India lose the top order at the end of the 35th over, he can come and play the finisher's role as well.
He's more than handy with the ball. So, if either of Yuzvendra Chahal or Kuldeep Yadav has an off day, he can chip in with a few overs as well. His electric fielding makes him a complete package.
Good record in England and ICC World Cups
2019 World Cup will be played in England and Wales. In England, Raina has made 375 runs at an average of 37.50 and a stunning strike-rate of 113.63. His 75-ball hundred against England in Cardiff in 2014 is a testimony of his command in English conditions.
He has an excellent record in ICC ODI World Cups as well. The left-hander played in 2011 and 2015 editions of the World Cup. He has scored a total of 358 runs in the ODI World Cups at an average of 59.66 and strike-rate of 107.50. His 34*(28) against Australia in the quarterfinal and 36*(39) against Pakistan in the semifinal of 2011 World Cup, won many accolades.
With the World Cup is only a year away, Raina should be eyeing to make a telling impact in the Nidahas tri-series against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. If he performs well in the series and in the subsequent IPL, we can surely see Raina in ODIs.