Coach Greg Chappell, as revealed by his reported text message to a senior journalist, said he wanted Suresh Raina in the team for the World Cup. This was, however, denied to him by the selectors.
Raina himself is recuperating from a left knee (ACL - anterior cruciate ligament) surgery that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) doctor, Anant Joshi, performed on him last week in Mumbai.
Talking to HT on Wednesday, Raina said: “I am strengthening the muscles and will take one or one-and-a-half months to recover fully.” However, BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said Raina would be out of action for two to three months.
The left-handed batsman and livewire fielder from Uttar Pradesh, who was sent back from the India squad after the third One-day International against Sri Lanka last month to play domestic matches, tore a left-knee ligament during the Central Zone One-day tournament in Indore.
The 20-year-old hurt himself while turning for the second run in the zonal One-dayer against Railways at Indore. He has missed the All Star Series for the Deodhar Trophy and the Premier Cup all-India One-day knockout tournament.
Raina's contribution on the field might have made Chappell fight for his case even though he has not lived up to his potential with his bat in the 35 ODIs that he has played. Raina has averaged only 26.61 with three half-centuries.
But he wished to put things in perspective on Wednesday: “I have been going in to bat in difficult circumstances. Batting lower down the order, in the 44th or the 47th over, one can hardly score a 50. I have been working hard on my batting and have been among runs. I scored 59 and 50 for UP in zonal One-dayers and was going fine on 39 before retiring hurt against Railways.”
However, in his last 10 visits to the crease in India colours, Raina has gone in to bat anywhere between the 3rd and the 32nd overs. He's had enough time to score big.
Raina said he is missing cricket (UP, sans Raina, lost to Mumbai in the Premier Cup semifinal on Monday night). “But I am reading a lot of books and am thinking of my batting, how to build my innings,” he said. “I hardly got time to plan my batting while playing international matches. I am confident I will do well if given another chance. There is plenty of good cricket May onwards. We have played these teams before. The confidence is high.”