Smooth sailing for misfiring Raina | india | Hindustan Times
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Smooth sailing for misfiring Raina

india Updated: Feb 12, 2012 00:11 IST
Amol Karhadkar

One of the likely reasons for the India captain to come up with the so-called rotation policy for the opening batsmen alone could be to make space for Suresh Raina in the eleven.

Rather than putting Rohit Sharma, adjudged the Man of the Series in the last two ODI series he featured in, under pressure, MS Dhoni could have given a stern warning to the left-handed Raina who seems to have forgotten to deliver with the willow.

Twice during the last week, Dhoni said Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were rested against Australia and Sri Lanka respectively because “the team wants to give Rohit a longer run”.

But is rotating openers, the only option to give Rohit the opportunities? Can’t the captain see Raina’s continued inability to cope with the short ball? Or, is it a case of the think tank, especially MSD, whose bond with the UP batsman is well known, wanting to ignore this? Raina hasn’t done any good to his reputation of being a technically flawed batsman over the last year or so. He failed in South Africa at the beginning of last year. Then, he fared poorly against the West Indies both in the Caribbean and at home. In between, an average World Cup campaign was followed by an indifferent 10-ODI stint against England.

Yet, not once has the team management thought of asking him to take a break. Instead, every effort has been made to justify Raina’s inclusion. Maybe, it can be put down to “the 20-odd runs he saves in the field” or “four-five overs of off-spin he can deliver”.

The point is, Raina is not the only one who gives the team all those options. Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary are equally good fielders and can bowl spin. Yet, instead of boosting Rohit’s confidence or presenting an opportunity to Tiwary, who scored a century in his last international outing, the team management has backed Raina all along.