Social problems are simple, the problem
with poor is poverty and the rich is uselessness
This famous quote about politics can be best suited for the current Indian team if the poor is replaced with bowling department and the rich with the batting resources.
Because of the abundance of batting talent that the country is producing, the team is finding themselves set with the idea of picking the best on date and test them rather than to improvise and tune the players who are already found to have a lot of talent.
The board is starting to expect players to be perfect when they enter the team and consequently seem to bother less about the problems of the already existing names.
This policy of the management had already found a lot of victims like Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan and his younger brother, Robin Uthappa, Murali Vijay and the list goes on. One of the most important victim who is still hanging on the team is Suresh Raina.
The youngster who blasted into the team in 2005 after some brilliant knocks in the U-19 leagues and local matches has travelled a long way from his debut to become one of the best finishers in the modern game. He is well settled with the team now and believes that he is in the prime time of his career. But the problem is that he is still not playing to his actual potential and he is still undercooked even after travelling almost 9 years with the team.
One doesn’t need to be a Nazi in cricket interpretation to find the reason for his current position. His bat change came almost 3 years late which if the technical committee is proper would have happened a long back. Anyone who watched him with a SG bat in the starting years would have guessed that the bat he had is not a one for his kind of cricket when they saw him make huge swings to hit the ball to boundaries. An SG is clearly not a better choice for an explosive batsman and added to the fact that Raina doesn’t have a strong physique, he should have used a stuffed weightless bat with even distribution of stroke which can let him play big shots with ease. But there is no such change from him at the time he needed them the most and it just happened just a couple of years back when he changed to Adidas.
If this is one big example to prove that our technical and coaching unit is below par in recent years, there are quite a few areas they failed to notice in the UP player’s game. Now here is a list of few areas that should have been noted by the coaching team and be corrected,
He is good while coming down the track and sending the white lady into the stands, but not always. He use to take his eyes off the ball while coming down the track and eventually skies the ball and loses his wicket often. The coach should have corrected this mistake of him at the earliest which didn’t happened.
Whenever he gets top on bowlers or hit a bowler for a six or a good boundary in the first part of the over, he tries to attack him the entire over and as a result he tend to lose the wicket on the last 2 deliveries often going for a big heave.
Someone has to walk to Raina and say that the team didn’t expect 30 runs a over in the end overs when he is on crease. He writes off most of the shots in his book in the final overs and only tries to slog all six deliveries which won’t work out for any batsman.
Playing with the tail is one habit which a lower middle order batsman has to be accustomed with and Raina is no different to it. He use to lose hope at times when the team chase and when he is left with the tail enders and consequently he goes for ramp shots out of desperation.
If the coaching unit is good enough, then they should have spotted these mistakes of him and should have ensured that he corrects them and become a better batsman by today.
Over the past 3 years, Raina had been addressed that he is not good in handling short stuffs. This is more of a psychological issue and not an actual weakness. Almost every sub continent batsman will have troubles with these deliveries. Anyway he could have tackled it easily if he had cemented his feet to the ground while playing short stuffs rather than to get on to his toes. However he came out of those issues though it took some time for him.
There is one group of people who still believe that Dhoni is the one who backs the UP batsman to be a regular member of the team. Suresh deserves complete credit for what he is today and the born skipper doesn’t have anything to do with it. In fact, Dhoni tend to rob Raina’s chances most of the time in the past years. He use to promote himself up when the team is going at a good rate and will send Raina ahead of him only in testing times. However, Dhoni use to defend himself saying that it is a part of his game plan. Instead Dhoni should have given some right opportunity at good playing conditions to get him going when he is not on a roll which he didn’t do.
One of the best decisions by Raina in his career is to appoint Pravin Amre as his batting coach. This decision of him reaped immediate fruit as we went on to win his first man of the series against England as soon as he appointed Pravin Amre. He helped Raina to a good extent and made him better but he vanished off the scenes in a short period.
A myth that affected Raina badly is that, explosive limited over players are not going to succeed in longer format. The myth made him wait and play 98 ODI matches before his test debut in June 2010 which is the most number of ODI’s played before test debut that time. He proved his critics wrong in his debut series by scoring a century in the first test, and a half century and a 40 in the second test to finish off the match with a six of malinga’s delivery. But the myth didn’t let him settle after that too.
Raina is thrown out of the test team after playing 17 tests in which 15 were played outside India. He had a decent debut series in SL, scored 3 half centuries in three tests played in WI and failed to shine with just 1 fifty in a 4 match series in England in which the whole team failed to perform. Our selectors has to be coined brutal for throwing him after giving tougher conditions.
Instead they should have gave him an extended run, some favorable conditions where he would have got some time to settle and get into the grove and then should have ejected him if he had failed in that.
It is little harsh to not pick him for almost 2 years in the test squad after a short run added to the fact that he scored a 200 against Punjab and many decent performances in ranji games.
Anyway, still it is all left to the team and management to decide how to use him. They can make him a part of their plans in test team or can just use him as an effective limited overs batsman.
One good thing about this little dynamite is that he is constantly looking for ways to improve his game and hopefully he can emerge as a defining player for the team with more consistency in the coming years. He clearly has the talent and perseverance to become the next big thing in Indian cricket. But the billion dollar question is “will he?”, let’s see.