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Exposed in Australia, Raina faces the sack

If the national selectors axe Suresh Raina from India's squad for the Asia Cup on Wednesday, the left-handed batsman should not feel he has been made a scapegoat for India's miserable CB Series showing. Amol Karhadkar reports. Raina in numbers

india Updated: Feb 28, 2012 02:38 IST
Amol Karhadkar

If the national selectors axe Suresh Raina from India's squad for the Asia Cup on Wednesday, the left-handed batsman should not feel he has been made a scapegoat for India's miserable CB Series showing.

In fact, Raina has been such a disaster with the bat over the last month that even if India miraculously make the cut for the final by defeating Sri Lanka by a huge margin on Tuesday, it is high time the Uttar Pradesh batsman is dropped from the ODI side. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/28_feb_pg20a.jpg

Following his poor show during the Test series in England last year, Raina lost his Test spot. Since then, the only Indian to have scored a century in all three formats of the game at international level has found the going tough even in the 50-over format, regarded as his forte.

His inability to tackle the short ball was exposed time and again even in the sub-continental conditions, so it didn't come as a surprise when twice in the first half of the tri-series Raina was dismissed attempting to play the pull shot.

Of the 13 innings he has played since winning the Man-of-the-Match award - against England in Mumbai on October 23 - Raina has failed to reach double figures on six occasions. A look at his numbers in the tri-series (see box) will show the slump in his batting has continued from the home series against West Indies.

What is disconcerting is that skipper MS Dhoni is adamant when it comes to backing his dear friend. Though Dhoni rightly replaced Rohit Sharma to accommodate all three seniors in the eleven, he kept his faith in Raina, which meant Manoj Tiwary continues to warm the bench.

Dhoni’s take

Explaining Raina's continued inclusion, Dhoni had said in Adelaide: "Since he bats at No 6, it's important to give him those extra games as it's difficult to bat in that position".

However, not once has Raina batted at No 6 in the tournament. In all seven games, he has come in at No 5. And in each one of them, he had ample time to get his eye in and pile on a big score. But he hasn't been able to convert any of the four starts he got into a big score.

With the younger lot exposed due to inadequate technique and temperament, it is time the selectors plumped for other players waiting in the wings.