For a long time, the UP born left hander Suresh Raina has been the mainstay of Indian middle order. After getting dropped from the Indian team since the T20 series in England in 2018, Raina’s main focus has been IPL and domestic cricket. Known as ‘ Mr IPL ‘, Raina has scored the second most runs in this competition after Virat Kohli. He is currently training in CSK training camp to prepare himself for the upcoming season of IPL.
The southpaw talked his heart out while speaking to a news agency. He talked about his possible chances of a comeback, MS Dhoni’s future and how youngsters deserve more backing by captain Kohli. He had suffered a serious knee injury at the business end of last year’s IPL and then went through a successful knee surgery in August 2019. He believes IPL is the best perform to check his form and fitness. It will tell whether he is good enough to play more cricket or not. It is also the best platform to impress selectors in order to make a comeback to the Indian side.
” It is too early right now. I have always enjoyed my cricket, irrespective of where I play. I have not set any target right now. If I am able to do well in the IPL, I will be able to understand how I am shaping up. I have played enough to know what the situation demands. So my T20 World Cup hopes depend on my performance in the IPL. If I can make my knee strong and have a good IPL, then I know that I have another 2-3 years of cricket left in me. There are two back-to-back World Cups. I have done well in T20 cricket. ” -Raina on how he eyes IPL as the best opportunity for his comeback.
Having played over 225 ODIs, 78 T20Is and 193 IPL matches, Raina has a vast experience of playing in the Indian middle order. He had a simple word of advice for the current Indian captain Virat Kohli and Indian team management who are trying to solve this middle order conundrum since a long time. Raina told him to stay patient and back the young players a bit more.
” The support of the captain and team management will definitely solve this middle-order drama. You can’t expect Iyer and Pant to score big runs in every game. You have to give them the assurance that they will not be dropped. Iyer is very good at No. 4. I am sure Pant too will make a lot of difference because he is a left-hander. So I am sure they will give youngsters the right advice.”
Raina also praised Rahul Dravid and MS Dhoni under whom he has played a lot of cricket. He talked about how their backing was so much needed when he was trying to find his feet at this level. He also exemplified these two captains on how to make best use of youngsters.
” For any newcomer, it is important to get a lot of opportunities I was lucky to play under Rahul Dravid when I came in. He gave me a lot of opportunities. Then I played under MS Dhoni who understood my game. “
The final portion of his interview was filled with questions about his close friend MS Dhoni and his future to which he calmly replied about Indian team still needing his experience but only Virat and selectors have the right to decide his future.
Dhoni will probably be coming to Chennai in the first week of the IPL. Right now, it is so good to see him spending a lot of time with his family. If he wants to leave the game, he will go out without making a big fuss. I want to see him continue to play. He is looking fit and has been training hard. I still think the Indian team needs him. But it is Virat’s call on how they go forward.