Raina among top 10 players to define cricket in next decade
Suresh Raina may have lost his place in the Indian team due to indifferent form but he figures among the 10 players who will "define" cricket in the next decade.
The latest issue of the 'Wisden Cricketer' clubs Raina with Australians batsman Michael Clarke, paceman Shaun Tait, all-rounder Shane Watson, England batsman Kevin Pietersen, Pakistan's fast medium seamer Mohammad Asif, Sri Lanka's fast bowler Lasith Malinga, West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor and Bangladesh vice captain Mohammad Ashraful as the players who will define cricket's next decade.
Well-known British cricket writer Lawrence Booth states in the article that Raina had the talent to be a left-handed Sachin Tendulkar with even more intuitive flair.
"But he needs to be sensitively handled by India. The way he dismantled England during an ODI in Faridabad in March 2006 hinted at a rare genius, and Greg Chappell never stopped singing his praises. Aged 20, he has plenty of time on his side," he said.
Paying glowing tributes to the hard-hitting Pietersen, the article said that he finished the World Cup at the top of the one day ratings and he has the ability to stay there.
"Only if he grows fed up with his teammates' failings, will his potential be threatened but Pietersen -- flamingo shot, left-handed sweep, bottom-handed cover drive and all -- is well on course to fulfill Ponting's prediction that he is world cricket's next great phenomenon," it said.
On Pakistan paceman Mohammad Asif, the writer said that if he could put the drug scandal behind him and rise above Pakistan's intriguing politics, anything was possible.
"There are few more apparently effortless fast bowlers in the world; willowy, snaking, subtle and accurate, he already has figures to die for (49 Test wickets at 20 with a strike rate of 39). Expect them to get better."
The writer was full of praise for middle order batsman Clarke, who always had the class but the World Cup inspired him to new levels of maturity.
"Australia will relax in the knowledge that once Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey have packed it in, they will be able to base their batting around a man with a strong enough sense of his own destiny to tattoo 'carpe diem' on his fore-arm."
Describing Dwayne Bravo as a "genuine all-rounder", the article said that the player might emerge during the post-Lara years as his side's most central figure.
On Ashraful, it said the young cricketer was the star Bangladeshi player in the World Cup.
"Of all the young Bangladesh stars to rise at the World Cup Asraful's could twinkle brightest. Things went quiet for a while after he became Test cricket's youngest centurion in 2001 -- on debut against Murali, no less -- but his 87 against South Africa in Guyana was full of inventive cheek. The scoop over fine-leg might soon need to be patented."
The article also mentioned that a host of top players like Brian Lara, Inzamam-ul Haq, Glenn McGrath and Anil Kumble have either completely retired or given up the shorter version of the game which has made the winter of 2006-07 "as much like an epoch-breaker as an epoch-maker".