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Paging Suresh Raina

by Gaurav Sethi

You have to be an ISI agent to not want Raina to succeed. The smile-boy was the great Indian hope till only recently, then he played like he had signed up with some Nazi tour operators, Brussels for breakfast, Lausanne for lunch, if you’re still alive, Dublin for dinner.

I don’t care much for ‘the more you play the better you get’ school when you gotta travel like that. I was jet lagged just watching Raina. So when he played the first test in South Africa, you could tell, he was already on paid leave. Raina was tired, and the harsh travel had started to eat at his enthusiasm.

Take away Raina’s enthusiasm, take away a child’s candy. There would be no 2nd or 3rd test for Raina, that was obvious before the first, and he was already walking on Yuvi’s thin ice. Ironic.

Much as I want Che Pujara to play both tests and one dayers, and Kohli to play the World Cup, I also want Raina to come through this spring. Good for Raina, in addition to me, MSD, and some higher powers back him like their baby.

The way I see it, India will play Yuvi, Raina and Kohli in the warm up games and make a call on the basis of those games, and not on the past year. Either way, Yuvi will play against Bangladesh, and at first, it will be a toss-up between Kohli and Raina.

But the World Cup’s long enough for all of them, injuries, comebacks, sabbaticals. The key for me is, play Raina against the weaker teams, Ireland, Holland, even the strong-weak Bangladesh. Nobody bullies middle-of-the road bowling like he does – a few plunders in the pocket, Raina could go nuts in the knock out.

Before that, pit him against Yuvi in the bowling – especially in the warm-ups, bowl them equally, bat them both higher up the order. Make tough calls based on fitness, temperament, the last one year, in addition to form in the warm-ups.

If Raina can regain some of his earlier edge, he could be the floater in the batting order – as for Yuvi, I just can’t say.


raj said...

Oh Yes, it is quite a valid doubt to have: Can Yuvi float? :-)

raj said...

Cant resist a dig at Yuvi, can we?
Leaving that aside, India do have a conundrum
They need to squeeze 12-18 overs out of their part timers depending on the front line pacers' form on the day and whether Bhajji feels threatened enough in the XI to play to his full potential on the day.
At present, Yuvi has been the best part time spinner with an excellent economy rate and ability to provide break throughs. The next best partnership breaker, Rohit Sharma, among the part timers, is not in the squad.

Sehwag doesnt bowl.

Which combo can provide, reliably, 12-15 overs of spin? Raina/Yuvi or Yuvi/Pathan or Raina/Pathan? Of these, Raina/Pathan seems the least reliable pair.

Ideally, Yuvi should be battling with Harbhajan - they offer very similar returns. Somehow, our think tank, nor public, nor bloggers seem to be thinking along that line. Imagine Yuvi at #8 instead of Harbhajan. Now, imagine Yuvi firing through 10 overs. Eminently plausible, isnt it? Yuvi has consistently been bowling 10 overs. And if he doesnt succeed, then we know Harbhajan is our man for #8 for the near future - no questions asked.
Genius plan, if you ask me

pRAFs said...

More fat, better float.

therefore, yuvi can float better

any more questions related to physics or biology?

Govind Raj said...

In spite of his fielding, in spite of the form and temperament, Virat should be the one to be benched for the initial matches.

Gautam at No. 3 can't be dislodged.

Yuvi is the only slow bowler who takes the ball away from right handed batters. Yuvi also hasn't batted all that badly of late.

Raina needs to be given 2 - 3 chances, just to fire him as well as Yuvi.

Pathan is red hot and the way he has played recently at No. 7, there isn't a better bet today. And he is a better partnership breaker than Nohit !

@ Raj:

Serious doubts about who is a better batsman ? Yuvi / Bhajji
And who is a better bowler ? Yuvi / Bhajji again !

Is that you're trying to tell ? If that is true, I don't see India going past round-1.

saingr said...

If Kohli is picked, India will be down to two part-timers - Pathan and Yuvraj/Raina. If one of the bowlers has a bad day (which seems quite likely at the moment), Dhoni will have no one to turn to.

Vidooshak said...

A little late to the party here, but I think India might not get a chance to test their middle order against Bangladesh, England, Ireland and Netherlands. A few lop-sided victories and then suddenly you find Raina and Yuvraj against first rate opposition (SA) and possibly struggling. Virat might be the one to suffer as a result of this. On form, Virat and Yusuf have to play, but will they?