World Cup

Raina, worth more to the team than is apparent

For a batsman with 213 one-dayers behind him, five career hundreds do not signify great returns. But Suresh Raina’s value to the team cannot be judged only by his runs. He mostly bats at five or six, late in the innings when he has to take risks, with little time to ease himself in.

It is unselfish and, sometimes, thankless work.

It can become difficult, he admitted, to go without making big individual scores. “You look at the statistics: when I was dropped from the Asia Cup side, I was making scores of 35, 40 every time,” he said.

“In 15-20 innings I didn’t have a 50 (a run of 24 innings with just one half-century). That’s why I was dropped. I realised afterwards that I needed to spend more time. I know that if I play till the 50th over the team can get 20-25 runs extra.

“Sometimes you play a shot and you get out, sometimes you manage to convert it. If the team wins you’re satisfied.”

Was it frustrating?

“I wouldn’t call it frustrating, but the goals I set for myself...I have scored five hundreds, having played so many matches,” he said. “But you cannot expect that in that situation. If the team wins, that’s what is important.”

Then there’s Raina’s fielding, with no numbers to tell the world how many runs he saves. There’s also his ceaseless encouragement of his colleagues, characterised by his running fifty metres just to high-five someone.

He is worth more to the team than is apparent.

“You want to do something different…because sometimes I get to bat in the 49th over, and sometimes in the 20th. So when I go back to the dressing room, I want to feel I’ve done something special for the team. Whether it’s taking a diving catch or taking the bowler’s sweater and handing it to the umpire — he gets 10 seconds of relief, some extra time.

“These are little things but they’re important to a bowler. He gets his breath back; he gets time to think. Ajju (Rahane) and I do this quite a bit.”

Raina will hope to perform that role again on Thursday, when India meets Bangladesh for their quarterfinal here.

It was a good thing that all four Asian sides had entered the last eight, Raina said. “Earlier, everyone was saying we didn’t have all-rounders for conditions in Australia and New Zealand. Now you see four of us are in the quarterfinals, so it’s good to see that.”


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 12:10:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/raina-worth-more-to-the-team-than-is-apparent/article7008131.ece

Next Story