After nearly six months of injury lay-off, Suresh Raina is back on track and, given the way he has taken it in his stride, one can be certain that the Uttar Pradesh batsman will give it his best shot to be back in the National team.
But, first the Ghaziabad-based 20-year-old is looking forward to his stint with Lashings county side, an ideal practice ground for him.
HT caught up with him at Ghaziabad’s Nehru Stadium. Excerpts:
Have you completely recovered from injury?
I am completely fit at the moment (pointing to his left knee). It was a ligament tear and I underwent arthroscopy.
Physio John Gloster has instructed me not to rush things. He wants me to play practice matches so that I can regain my fitness and rhythm. I must add here that I got tremendous support from team doctor Mithun Joshi.
Are you satisfied with the treatment?
Physiotherapy has helped me but it would have been better had there been a recovery or progress chart for me.
You won’t believe the kind of treatment injured players get abroad. (England skipper) Michael Vaughan had a doctor looking after him round the clock when he was injured. It’s there in his contract with the ECB.
But here… forget it! Look at (Lakshmipathy) Balaji or (Ashish) Nehra. They got injured and where are they now?
My situation is no better. I got this injury playing against Railways in February. Since then, I have been running around doctors and physiotherapists. It is only now that I have started concentrating on fitness.
What is your fitness regime like?
I usually train for a couple of hours in the morning, do cardio, stretching exercises, weights and nets. But these days, I am not able to do nets, for whenever I get on with it, it starts raining. In the evening, if the weather is fine, I do some net practice, jog and concentrate on my fielding.
This regimen has really helped me. What’s more, I have put on some muscles too.
So what’s next?
I will be playing for Lashings. Let’s see how many matches I get to play, considering the rainy season there. But, still, four to five matches would be just fine to get my rhythm back. I have heard that (Marvan) Atapattu too has joined them. So, it will be fun playing with him. I will be leaving for England on Thursday.
You have won accolades for fielding. How do you rate the current lot of Indian players?
We really need to work in this area. That is one of the reasons for our poor performance. I personally feel the bowlers should chip in here too, but the fact is they seldom do.
I remember during the Pakistan series last year, Kaif, Yuvraj and I had completely blocked point, covers and mid-wicket region. And we were really praised for our efforts. People would come to us and say: “Aap ne to kamal kar diya” (you have done a great job).
Greg Chappell often praised your technique. Did you receive any special tips from him?
He would tell me to focus on the game, be it fielding or batting. He would often urge me to play long innings.
Other than cricket, what do you do and what are your future plans?
Presently, I am an assistant commercial manager with Air India and plan to continue with them…not much of a headache there.
But, I do plan to add on to my existing educational qualification. I am an arts graduate from Lucknow University, lets see if I can go for an MBA, maybe next year.
What do you do at leisure?
I have been reading some good books of late. Hey! I just finished reading Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Interesting stuff. Then I have read “Out Of My Comfort Zone” Steve Waugh’s autobiography and Geet Sethi’s “Success vs Joy”.
(At his home) You seem to be having a whole lot of mementos and gifts…
(Laughs) Friends and sponsors keep giving me gifts off and on. Talking about gifts, I was gifted a Chevrolet car by my bat sponsors SG after the England series last year. And this (pointing to a stump in his drawing room) was gifted to me by Yuvraj during the West Indies tour of India in January this year.