The England tour of 2011 was a forgettable tour for India. India were whitewashed mercilessly and there was one who performed with the bat, other than Rahul Dravid. It was series that led to few a changes in the team and one of the most prominent change was the fall of Suresh Raina as a Test batsman. Suresh Raina, who started his Test career with a brilliant century in his debut match against Sri Lanka, struggled against the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, and clueless in the middle. Raina’s technique was exposed and he was made to look very ordinary against the moving cherry.
After this series, almost everyone wrote-off Suresh Raina as a Test batsman and he became more of a limited-overs specialist batsman. But now, after almost 3 years, Suresh Raina has been called back and the selectors have picked him for the Test series against Australia, in Australia. Raina has been picked in the Test squad purely on the basis of his performances in limited-overs cricket. Although, many believe that this is not a good move as the parameter for selection in Test team shouldn’t be IPL, T20 or ODI performances, India’s Team Director Ravi Shastri is all praise for Suresh Raina and he is the one who raised the case for Suresh Raina’s inclusion in the Test team, by calling him a “class-act”.
Suresh Raina has scored most of his runs in the sub-continent, but, off-late, Raina has shown that he can bat in the overseas conditions as well and his match-winning hundred against England in Cardiff was one of the best ODI knocks we have ever seen. Ravi Shastri has said that Raina is working very hard on his game and he has made a few technical adjustments. In Raina’s defense, he has been dismissed to the short ball only twice in 16 ODIs so far in 2014. It’s true that Raina has improved his technique and shot selection, but batting against the likes of Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris on the bouncy wickets in Australia, is going to be a BIG challenge for Suresh Raina, who has has big issues against the short-pitched bowling, especially in Test cricket.
India will play 4 Tests in Australia and Suresh Raina will be in the playing XI only if a player is horribly out of form, or if someone gets injured. But, if Raina gets a game or more then this series will decided his future in Test cricket. India have a very rich pool of young batsmen who are pushing the selectors by scoring consistently in the Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments. The tour of Australia is Suresh Raina’s time of reckoning, as all eyes will be on him to see whether he can replicate his limited-over form in Test cricket.
The selectors and the team management have shown immense faith in Suresh Raina by drafting him into the Test sides, while ignoring the other consistent domestic performers. This surely is Raina’s moment to seize the opportunity and pocket a Test spot; it is his time of reckoning.
By The Cricket Lounge