The World Cup comes at a challenging phase in Suresh Raina's career. Six months ago, before he made his Test debut, he would have been a sure bet to be in India's playing eleven for the mega event. However, with barely a fortnight to go for the World Cup, Raina could be unsure of his role and position in the batting line-up.
He has already lost his spot in Tests to Cheteshwar Pujara. His poor run in ODIs (he's scored just two fifties over the last one year) saw him demoted to No 5 and 6 in the recent ODIs in South Africa. Raina has strong competition from Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan. Kohli performed well at the top in the South Africa series while Pathan's recent success - he's scored two tons in two months, shows he is more than just a slam bang cricketer.
"I think anyone who plays for such a long time is bound to run into a bad patch. I am sure Raina will come back strong. He is a finisher and I think the ideal position for him is number 5 or 6. He is like Michael Bevan, who used to finish off the matches with his quick running and smart strokeplay," says former India opener Chetan Chauhan.
He says the poor run shouldn't be a cause for worry since the helpful Indian wickets may just aid his return to form.
Sanjay Jagdale, former national selector from Central Zone, who has seen Raina graduate from his zone says, "I feel he has to be judicious in shot selection. I think he has not been picking the right deliveries to hit.
"But he is capable of fighting the poor form. The fact that he has all-round capabilities (he is a handy spinner and a sharp fielder) makes him a utility player." When Raina marked his Test debut with a hundred against Sri Lanka in Colombo, the left-handed batsman was hailed as a replacement for Sourav Ganguly, whose retirement had created a void in the middle-order. He was a permanent fixture in the ODI line-up, having established himself at No. 4.
Raina certainly has a few points to prove during the big Cup.