Suresh Raina played one of the most entertaining T20 knocks and scripted a magnificent win for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), in the recently concluded Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20 2014) tournament. Not long ago, in the One Day International (ODI) series against England, Raina scored a match-winning hundred at Cardiff, which many believe is one of the best ODI knocks, ever. Raina has been in great from off late, and this is a big boost for Team India before entering into the final stages of preparation for the World Cup 2015.
Having said this, his record outside the sub-continent is abysmal and he has struggled on the pitches that assist fast-bowling. Here’s some number-crunching on Suresh Raina’s recent ODI record outside the sub-continent:
India in England ODI series, 2014
Raina scored 160 runs in 4 matches at an average of 53.33
India in New Zealand ODI series, 2013-14
Raina scored 85 runs in 3 matches at an average of 28.00.
India in South Africa ODI series, 2013-14
Raina scored 50 runs in 3 matches at an average of 25.00
ICC Champions Trophy in England, 2013
Raina scored 17 runs in 5 matches at an average of 8.50
Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia, 2011/12
Raina scored 182 runs in 8 matches at an average of 26.00
These numbers clearly suggest that Raina has struggled on the pitches outside the sub-continent. In the last 5 series that he has played outside the sub-continent, he has averaged over 30 only once (in the recent ODI series against England). Considering the Cricket World Cup 2015 is in Australia and New Zealand, Raina will have to make quick changes to his game, if he wants to do well in the World Cup 2015. Raina’s biggest criticism over the years has been his inability to bat against the short-pitched stuff. Every fast bowler in the world, who has played against Raina, has exploited his weakness against short-pitched bowling, and so far, Raina has had no answer.
Raina needs to work on playing more horizontal shots, as the bouncy pitches of Australia would test his technique. While we are all hailing his dazzling knock in the Champions League Twenty20 2014 final, it’s also important to keep the bigger picture in mind i.e. World Cup 2015. Suresh Raina must work hard on this aspect of his game or he his technique will get exposed yet another time.
by The Cricket Analyst
image source: ESPNCRICINFO