What is Suresh Raina doing in the Indian Test team?

The selection of Suresh Raina in the Indian Test team to tour Sri Lanka is a clear indication that the IPL and subsequent ODI performances are influencing the selectors much more than other more conventional parameters.

Nearly all international teams include a player in their Test team based on 2 important criteria:

  • Indications of a solid domestic record with a penchant for scoring centuries (an indication of temperament), or
  • Pointers to a prodigious talent that is capable of doing well at the highest level as evidenced by a few sparkling performances.

Around the world, these broad criteria apply. Michael Hussey got into the Australian Test Team after scoring a mountain of runs in the domestic circuit, while Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting got in because they showed glimpses of immense talent at a very young age.

This can be seen clearly in the well chronicled success stories of Indian cricket in the last 20 years — the Fab Four! Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had scored tons of runs — including many centuries — in domestic cricket before moving on to Test team selection. They have since proved their mettle on the international stage.

We are not going to even mention the case of God in this context!

On the other hand we have had batsmen like Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag who have done well over the years because their talent was identified early. They were then given opportunities to hone their talent on the world stage.

The success and hype surrounding the IPL has given a sudden boost to the fortunes of many cricketers who have been suddenly pitchforked to the Indian ODI team and then, the Test team, strictly on the basis of their T20 performances.

A clear example of such hubris driven folly is the case of Suresh Raina, in our view.

There is no doubt in our mind that Raina is a talented cricketer. But what has he done in domestic cricket that sends shivers down the spine of opponents the world over? Nothing much. Nothing spectacular.

He has played 51 matches (86 innings) and scored 3684 runs (6 centuries and 25 fifties) with a high score of 203 at an average of 44.38 per game. His last big domestic season was 2005-06 when he scored 620 runs in six games and guided Uttar Pradesh to winning the Ranji Trophy.

In direct contrast, we have S. Badrinath who turns in solid performances year-in-year-out. He has played 85 matches (123 innings) and scored 6252 (22 centuries and 27 fifties) with a high score of 250 and at an average of 57.35!

What? You don’t like the structure of Badrinath’s cheek bones and the colour of his eyelashes?

Look at Cheteshwar Pujara then. The man has played almost as many games as Suresh Raina has and so, may be a more compelling comparison perhaps. Pujara has played 49 First Class matches (78 innings) and scored 3925 runs with a top score of 302 (not out), at an average of 60.38. He has made 14 hundreds and 13 fifties.

Ok. So you think anyone with the name Pujara shouldn’t be trusted?

So, let us look at Rohit Sharma then?

Rohit Sharma has played 36 First Class matches (52 innings), and scored 2641 runs with a top score of 309 not out at an average of 55.02 that includes 8 centuries and 11 fifties.

We can also have a look at other players like Ajinkya Rahane, Abhinav Mukund, et al.

We have no doubt that Suresh Raina is a good player. He has performed well in ODIs and T20s for India and has done well for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. He is an electric fielder and has tremendous commitment and nous.

But, the question remains: What is Suresh Raina doing in the Test team ahead of Badrinath, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Abhinav Mukund?

— Sanjay & Mohan

13 responses to “What is Suresh Raina doing in the Indian Test team?

  1. Guess they need someone who can get the front foot out of the way and smash good length balls to sixerrrrr. :))

    Badhri doens’t know Hindi and Pujara doesn’t know tamil , exactly the reason why they weren’t selected. Raina Knows Hindi and managed to pickup one Dozen Tamil words when he was in chennai.

    I’m as confused as the selectors.

  2. Your article is a rant. It shows your ignorance about the difference between test cricket and domestic FC cricket. OK, here is “performances for you”:
    Combined performances of DK, SB and MV (similarities exposed in your rant) from Oct 2007 (1 tests played outside subcontinent, 5 outside India): 14 tests, 23 innings, 0 no, 481 runs at 20.9. YS has average of 39+, HS 599 runs in 35 inngs at 18.2.

    (Pls note the career FC averages of the latter two. YS clearly outclassed the trio in every which shape and form. )

    Also, HS has made better quality runs, incl 5 50s. (DK got highest, 52 courtesy late declaration in Bangalore). HS has scored 47 in 2 innings @ 23.5 v SA, beating both MV & SB in terms of averages for that series.

    Details of Badri & MV v SA:
    Badri’s last innings (Kolkata) : “TOTALLY OUTCLASSED; Badri totally exposed.” MV: work out by bouncers + lame poke. Hit on head.

    Previous innings: Badri: “lunged out with an open bat-face, got the outside edge”, previous delivery, “opens the bat-face” + gets its through 1st slip. Also, “Badri ducks right into the delivery line” of a short ball & hit. “falls over on that front foot” and hits the pad.. HE shows clipping leg stump… “Gets past the defensive prod and strikes the pad”, hit pad, hit pad, etc.

    Badri was rubbish and you should know it by now. MV can’t face the short ball and is weak outside the off-stump. Neither is good against quality pace.

  3. “Questions remain to be asked of Vijay and I am really not to sure that Badrinath belongs.” Feb 2010, written by Mohan. Or is it Moron?

    Also, “Badrinath did not inspire confidence in me at all” & “questions must be asked of his place at this level”.

    “While we may claim a strong bench strength in xxx et al [choose all names above], these are mostly UNTESTED.” (Read this quote in full and your article and try make sense of your bitterness).

    You say of Kolkata pitch, “a placid pitch” & ” pitch was really doing nothing much”. How does one get “outclassed” in case of Badri; or, worked out by bouncers + lame poke + hit on head in case of MV??

    Yet, you write: “Vijay did have that SWAGGER and that approach inspired confidence [about his batting]”. “He has that “I belong here” body language.”

    However, this is what you start with: “India NEEDS A MATCH-READY PAIR of batsmen and she needs them NOW”. (A shocking commentary on the pair that had been prepared by continuous selection in reserves for 2+ years. They got found out, and you got jittery).

    BTW, is body language an indicator of “test quality”; should it give us a great deal of confidence about the said batsman?

  4. @Issacn

    Interesting that you termed the piece a “rant”. Nice word. I reached for my dictionary and then read your comments above. I decided I did not need a dictionary. Nice rant Issacn including that lovely bit in which you called “Mohan” a moron? Nice. If you want a considered dialog and debate, post again. If not, consider yourself ignored — by me at least.

  5. Remember how Gambhir got his way back in to the team for tests? He got in to the 2007 T20 WC, and then the ODI side and eventually to the test side. If I remember correctly, he too had a lot of technical flaws in his first go around. Let’s give the guy a chance before we kill him.

  6. MohanKaus, Lets just say the two accounts of yours are like chalk and chees, hence Mohan v Moron. I was wondering whether you stand by your Feb 10 assessment.

    Your article on Raina is a rant for the reasons mentioned. I gave you stats and commentary. Your comment on Badri’s colour is a disgrace esp considering the political equation in BCCI). You talk about Pujara, Rahane, Rohit Sharma, etc. Lets say if FC average was all important, then why was M Vijay selected in preference to Rahane? Lets also say there is enough recent evident to show that TN players wern’t discriminated.. indeed quite the opposite.

    thecricketcouch: I’d don’t think Gambhir of T20 WC had technical difficulties. Gambhir identified some problems with his technique (like falling over and getting lbw) as well as mental approach (like not good shot selection) as somethings he worked on after the WC2007 omission. He was part of ODI team from Bangla 2007.

    Gambhir was averaging close to 40 when he was discarded after two average matches against SL in 2005. Jaffer (Mumbai player at time of Pawar) did extremely well against England, and that seeled matters.

    Gambhir’s comeback is scripted in fantasy. Contrast his consistent 50s with abject failures of RD, SRT, SG & VVS against Mendis & Murali. He proved it again and again and reached No. 1 status. He has proved his worth by sheer performances. So no comparisons please.

    Similarly, Raina comeback in ODIs was remarkable. People like Harsha complained that Rohit’s failue was due to him being pushed down the order. After the WC T20 09 failure, Raina was duely put in No. 6 position and his stats proved him to be one of the best (if not the best) in that position.

  7. Nice Posts

  8. In one-dayers, Suresh Raina can walk into the XI. He has been performing there. Either Badri or Rohit Sharma should have been picked for the Test matches. There is no consistency in the selection. Selectors don’t know whom to select for what format.

  9. Yae, he is really doing good!

  10. oops…he scored 120 on debut…

    i think he has attitude and talent to make it big…
    selectors may be inconsistent but once in a while they do make right decisions…this may prove to be one of them

  11. He might have made a ton on debut and a very crucial unbeaten 40+ on a 5th day track but I’m yet to be convinced till he plays such a knock in England, SA or Australia. A good knock vs Aussies in India will also do.

    But Raina has not proven himself fully, though he has done better than Badrinath.

  12. So Mohan, do you still advocate for Badrinath to chosen in Indian team? Hope you saw his struggle against the modest Windies bowlers, their modest pace on few of the most docile surfaces? Even the much maligned Rohit Sharma was impressive the bounce there.

  13. hey Mohan…so Raina saved india’s ace in each of three tests in west indies as well as in the warm up game in England…

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