Suresh Raina will be making his much-awaited comeback into the Indian team, as they prepare to take on the South Africans in a series of three T20I matches. Raina who last played for India in 2017, missed out for a year due to form and fitness issues.
But his recent performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2018 for Uttar Pradesh brought him back into the contention for Indian team and he will be back cheering his teammates on the field and hitting those glorious sixes over cover and mid off.
But Raina’s return to Indian team can also answer lots of questions for Virat Kohli when it comes to the ODI team and with 2019 World Cup fast approaching; Kohli will definitely need Suresh Raina by his side.
Here are 5 reasons why Suresh Raina should be included in the India ODI squad:
Raina is perhaps the best fielder in the Indian team
Suresh Raina came into the Indian team at a time when the team was undergoing a renaissance in terms of fielding. With Mohd Kaif and Yuvraj Singh, India was turning a new leaf in their history of fielding and Suresh Raina took everything to another level.
Raina is an excellent fielder anywhere in the field. He can take blinders at the boundary, is a run-saving machine in the 30-yard circle and videos of his catches in slips have got millions of hits on YouTube. Raina gives you more than 100% in the field and his enthusiasm is infectious. Raina will give everything that is required as a fielder for the team and no one can challenge his athleticism.
Raina is the first one to congratulate the bowler if he takes a wicket and is first to celebrate his teammates’ achievements. India needs someone like Raina to keep the spirits and enthusiasm level at the maximum at all times.
Excellent finishing capabilities
Suresh Raina was brought into the team to play a role of finisher along with MS Dhoni. He has made the spot of no.5 or 6 his own in the Indian limited overs team and his record shows that. Now with MS Dhoni’s days as the big-hitting finisher behind him, Raina can take over from Dhoni and become the finisher that India is sorely missing.
With Hardik Pandya being a hit or miss in the role of big hitting finishers and with his technical flaws exposed against fast bowlers, Suresh Raina’s experience will come in handy as a consistent no.6 in the Indian team, who can take the team to a big score or finish off games in a hurry from tight situations.
Gives Kohli 5-6 overs of disciplined off-spin
Virat Kohli’s tactics aim with playing five bowlers in every game. However, the ODI format is such that he has to field four genuine bowlers and rely on part-timers to give him 10 overs from anywhere. Currently, he was doing so with Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya sharing the load.
But with Kedar struggling with his fitness and it is clear that Pandya can never be the bowler who gives you 10 good overs in every match; Suresh Raina becomes that vital option of the 5th bowler. He has bowled regularly under MS Dhoni and even helped Dhoni dictate the pace of the match with the ball.
Kohli can rely on Suresh Raina giving him a minimum of 5-6 economic overs every match and a bonus of 1-2 wickets here and there.
Only batsman in Indian team who can tee off from ball one
Suresh Raina is perhaps the only Indian batsman who has shown the ability to hit big shots from ball one. Sometimes situations don’t give you time to settle in and look at even 4-6 balls and you have to start going after the bowling immediately.
Suresh Raina has made a career out of doing so both for India and in IPL. He can hit the first ball he faces for a six and continues with the same momentum through his innings. This helps India get back the advantage in their favor and put pressure on the opposition bowlers.
Raina can also anchor an innings if needed, but his attacking instincts help him keep his strike rate in the high 90s. His career strike rate in ODIs is 93.76 and he has hit 120 sixes in his career to go with 475 fours; giving you a glimpse of destruction he can bring upon in a very short time.
MS Dhoni can bat at no.4 with Raina coming at 6
Suresh Raina coming back into the team will mean that Virat Kohli will be able to solve the problem of the no.4 player in the team. MS Dhoni can easily move in the no.4 spot with Manish Pandey coming in at on.5 and Raina playing the role of the big-hitting finisher at no.6.
MS Dhoni has shown that he struggles to hit those big sixes now and is more comfortable with anchoring the innings and running the hard singles and doubles. Manish Pandey is too talented to be left out of the Indian team and his ability to play both spin and quick bowlers and hit both for big sixes whenever he wants, making him an ideal no.5 for the Indian limited overs team.
Suresh Raina, on the other hand, can now take over from MS Dhoni as the big-hitting finisher for Team India, something he did before also and will be able to do when given a long rope at the position. Raina batting at no.6 solves a lot of problems for Virat Kohli and he can also have a better-balanced team, leading in to the 2019 World Cup.