Suresh Raina has finally arrived. Even as critics take some convincing if he is an accomplished one-day bat or if he could be promoted to Test level, there is little doubt the UP lad has worked out the Twenty20 code.
Statistics show Raina took 60 balls for his 101 runs. But his final 82 runs came from 38 balls. It implies that he took time to take roots at the crease. If Raina bats this long he is sure to smash a few deliveries beyond the ropes. Against South Africa, he helped himself to five sixes.
While his trademark blow remains the heave over midwicket and widish long-on, he has many more strokes in his repertoire. He chips the ball well over the infield and is wristy enough to find the gaps at will. He is determined to make the number three position all his own. The biggest improvement has been his shot selection.
Yuvraj Singh too is beginning to roar to life. Once Gautam Gambhir hits his straps, India’s top order would have a settled look. Mahendra Singh Dhoni looks intent on playing with five bowlers. He has also shortened his batting order and, twice in two games, played both all-rounders, Ravinder Jadeja and Yusuf Pathan.
A good team needs to have six or seven players who can bowl. Similarly, a few all-rounders and bowlers who can use the long handle should take care of the final 15-20 balls of the innings.