Suresh Raina leaves for South Africa; Mohammad Amir, Jonty Rhodes wish him luck
Suresh Raina is all set to make comeback into the Indian T20 side for the series against South Africa starting February 18 and the move was welcomed by Mohammad Amir and Jonty Rhodescricket Updated: Feb 16, 2018 11:55 IST
Suresh Raina’s return to the Indian cricket team for the upcoming three-match T20I series in South Africa has been welcomed by Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir as well as former Proteas all-rounder Jonty Rhodes.
Raina, once an asset for the Indian team in limited-overs cricket, has had to go through the grind in order to earn a national call-up once again. He had made his last international appearance for India more than a year ago, when he took field for the final T20I against England at Bengaluru.
As far as ODI cricket is concerned, Raina will have to justify his selection with performances as he has not played a single 50-over international for India since October 2015.
After a dismal run with the bat in the Ranji Trophy 2017-18, Raina bounced back in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2017-18, scoring 314 runs in nine matches at 39.25.
Raina hammered a 59-ball 126 not out against Bengal in the Super League stage match, smacking 13 fours and nine sixes to score his fourth T20 century. He also scored two half-centuries in India’s premier domestic T20 tournament.
His score of 126* is the second highest for any Indian in T20 cricket, and with that knock, Raina also brought up his 7,000 runs in the shortest format. Raina is only the second Indian cricketer after Virat Kohli to have breached the 7,000-run mark in all T20s.
Pakistani pacer Amir was the first one to wish Raina good luck as he embarked on his journey.
Former South African cricketer and long-time Mumbai Indians’ fielding coach Rhodes said he too was at the Dubai airport, but had boarded his flight.
With the Indian cricket team finding their mojo back after a dismal start to the South African sojourn, the Virat Kohli-led team will aim to clinch the T20I series as well having beaten the hosts comprehensively in the six-match ODI series 4-1. The final ODI will be played on Friday.
The first T20I will be played on Sunday, February 18 at Johannesburg, whereas Cape Town and Centurion will be the hosts for the second and third T20Is to be played on February 21 and 24 respectively.
First Published: Feb 16, 2018 11:22 IST