Tag: Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina v England – what this means for the World Cup

Before today, Suresh Raina had made three ODI hundreds in 193 matches. He made them against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.

But Raina bats in the middle order, so that doesn’t tell us a lot. Let’s look at fifties instead.

Against New Zealand, he has one in 11 innings; against Pakistan, one in 14; against South Africa, one in 11; against West Indies, one in 26 and against England 12 in 26, including six of his top ten one-day scores.

At this point we have to ask ourselves whether there’s something he particularly likes about a tired white ball delivered at fast-medium pace.

Let’s look at his strike rates against each of today’s bowlers.

  • Anderson: 25 off 12 balls – 208.33
  • Woakes: 23 off 11 – 209.09
  • Jordan: 13 off 15 – 86.66
  • Stokes: 20 off 10 – 200
  • Tredwell: 19 off 27 – 70.37

Oddly, Jordan’s efforts to become the world’s foremost ‘angling down the leg side’ bowler probably saved him.

Extrapolation’s what you need

One-day cricket in England is a bit different because you get more movement early on. However, the passages of play later on – once the ball stops doing owt – aren’t so dissimilar from what might be expected in Australia come the World Cup. If anything, Australian conditions merely mean a greater proportion of those sorts of overs.

In today’s match, England did the early, irrelevant bit well and then the later, relevant bit shitly. Their bowling simply isn’t tall enough, fast enough, slow enough or weird enough to keep batsmen guessing on a flat pitch. It’s samey. Four fast-medium right-armers is two – if not three – too many.

Is this the end of the world (cup campaign)?

Steven Finn’s taller and often quicker; Stuart Broad will be back to offer the same qualities; Harry Gurney’s a left-armer, should he prove reliable; and Ravi Bopara’s neither-one-thing-nor-the-other wobblery does offer something different. There are always options that would desameyise a bowling attack.

As for the batting, England remain poor chasers of anything over 250, which is all the more reason to get the bowling right.


Ajinkya Rahane v Suresh Raina

Okay, turns out we do have something else to say. It’s to do with who’s a good batsman.

We don’t want this to become a Suresh Raina bashing thing, because we’ve a certain amount of time for him. He does certain things better than almost anyone. The issue is that many people confuse ‘certain things’ with ‘everything’.

You may not remember, but Suresh Raina played each of the Test matches the last time India toured England in 2011. We have no idea how this happened. If you slaved away in a lab, you’d do well to engineer a worse Test batsman for English conditions than Suresh Raina.

Here are his scores from that 2011 series. The miracle is that he made a fifty:

0, 78, 12, 1, 4, 10, 0 and 0.

If he didn’t nick one, you just bounced him out. It was easy, as the scores suggest. There’s no shame in that, because he shouldn’t have been playing in the first place. His selection was the crime, not his batting.

So who should have been playing? Well, Rahane, obviously. He too might have been crap, but at least he had a case for being there. In the 2010-11 season, Rahane scored 1,003 first-class runs in nine matches at an average of 83.58, making five hundreds. That same season, Raina made 144 runs in five matches at 20.57. He made one fifty.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – statistics and all that. But what you have to remember is that these statistics only support what is blatantly obvious to everyone: Ajinkya Rahane is a batsman who can adapt to different situations and different conditions, whereas Suresh Raina does ‘certain things’ very well.

Last time around, India picked a load of celebrities and got the shit kicked out of them. This time they’ve picked some proper cricketers and prepared them properly too. It is already a far better series.


Suresh Raina is getting nowhere fast

You’d think you’d be more convinced about a player after he’d hit 80 off 62 balls in a one-day match. At worst, you’d think you’d feel the same about him. Yet somehow Suresh Raina actually managed to erode our confidence in him. This despite the fact that we said India might be better off picking 10 players during their last Test series.

Raina in one-day cricket

Before we continue, let’s be clear that we have few qualms about Raina as a one-day player. If a World XI were playing in India (and where else would it be playing) he’d be in our team were we for some inexplicable reason made chief selector.

But that’s very much our point. He’s not proving anything with innings like the one yesterday against England. Everyone knows he can play like that in that situation. That isn’t news.

Watching him in England, it seemed to us that he had Test ambitions. Although he struggled, knee-jerk England media suggestions that he ‘didn’t care’ were well wide of the mark in our eyes. Struggling for runs and losing matches, he retained his enthusiasm admirably. However, if he is bothered about Test cricket, there are some things he needs to address.

Watch them ribs

Suresh Raina has to learn to cope with deliveries aimed at his body on bouncier pitches. We’re deliberately trying to make a distinction between ‘short-pitched bowling’ and ‘deliveries that pass above the waist’ there.

To say Raina is weak against the short ball is misleading, because when it pitches short, he’s fine. It’s when the ball’s fuller yet still gets up when he looks like a member of the crowd who’s grabbed a helmet and bat and slipped onto the field of play.

He can’t really do anything to answer this question in India. Even if the pitches don’t turn as much as some people choose to imagine, they are low-bouncing. A bowler aiming at the body has to pitch the ball sufficiently short that the batsman has plenty of time to react. Trying to prove you can play the short ball in one-day matches in India is like trying to acclimatise to extreme heat by coming to England for the summer.

Keeping cool

Speaking of heat, that’s how Virat Kohli enhanced his Test case where Raina harmed his – he kept his cool. Kohli doesn’t mind trawling his vocabulary for some robust adjectives when chatting to the bowlers, but his batting is totally controlled. Raina’s isn’t.

The more England got stuck into Raina, the more frenetic he got. It was like he was careering down a steep hill on a bike with no brakes. Yes, he was gaining momentum, but there was only one way it was going to end. The fact that Steven Finn lost his cool in even more embarrassing fashion drew attention away from Raina’s own internal meltdown, but it still happened.

Raina can continue to enjoy a rather pleasant Groundhog Day in one-day cricket if he so chooses, but if he does want something more, he should look to Kohli. Raina landed a few blows, but Kohli got the job done – that’s the difference.


India’s stellar batting line-up

Well at least Anderson didn't- balls!

So far, it’s been looking a bit Stella – stronger than most, but you’d really rather have something else if at all possible.

That said, context is everything in cricket and batting hasn’t been all that easy this summer. England’s bowling has generally been very good, but there have been helpful conditions as well. To some degree, India’s batting looks worse simply because England have scored more runs – for which the Indian bowlers have to take quite a lot of the blame.

That said, for every peachy delivery that’s got rid of Dravid, someone else has done something demented. It was VVS Laxman’s turn yesterday. He played a shot that we immediately branded as being ‘fully spasticated’. That’s just cricket though. It’s half about outplaying your opponent and half about making fewer balls-ups.

Less than stellar

The biggest culprit has been Suresh Raina, of course. If India had picked a fifth bowler instead of him, they might have fared a damn sight better. They wouldn’t have lost any runs and they might not have suffered such flagging bowlers in the second innings. England went from 62-5 to 269-6 in the first Test and the second Test saw unremitting flaggery from those running in.

To be honest, if they’d replaced Raina with no-one whatsoever – just a blank space – India’s batting would have looked better. His own bowling in England’s second innings at Trent Bridge created context – it made batting look like a piece of piss. However, when India batted, we saw that batting was actually pretty tricky.

Raina’s bowling was bad enough to take the gloss off Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar. Now that’s bad.


Suresh Raina and the short ball

Dear Short Ball,

I would be most grateful if you would come round later on. I will pull out all the stops for you. You can sit in my armchair. I will bring you drinks. I even have some of your favourite cake.

Don’t worry about replying. All of this is no trouble at all.

Looking forward to seeing you,

Suresh

No-one invites the short ball quite like Suresh Raina. We don’t know if we’ve ever seen a professional batsman play short-pitched bowling so consistently badly as he did during his brief stay at the crease in the second innings at Trent Bridge.

Surely that was some sort of freakish one-off? The guy’s played 153 international matches, after all. No-one – particularly someone who’s barely five feet tall – could possibly have reached that level while being so jaw-droppingly incompetent at such a major aspect of batting.

That’s not a joke and it’s barely rhetoric. He couldn’t be that bad, could he?


Suresh Raina makes a good career move

Suresh Raina's got a face onSuresh Raina hit the first Twenty20 international hundred for India. He’ll do well out of that, you’d think.

We like Suresh Raina. We like the fact that he plays across the line into the off side. That seems to us to be the most effective way of making yourself look like a class batsman. He also enjoys a healthy measure of luckybastardom. We rarely see him bat without miraculously surving an atrocious skier at some point.

If we do have any misgivings, they’re to do with his appearance. He’s a pretty smiley guy, which is good, but when he doesn’t smile, there’s something awfully suspicious about that short top lip and that hair cut.


Suresh Raina was there too

Suresh Raina - looks like a complete chump, bats like a dreamWith Virender Sehwag doing some spectacular repairs to his surprisingly ordinary one-day record, it’s easy to overlook his juvenile, boundary-hitting accomplice, Suresh Raina.

Sehwag followed his 44 ball 78 against the might of Hong Kong with a 95-ball 119 against Pakistan’s increasingly mediocre attack. Suresh Raina took 68 balls to hit 101 against Hong Kong and kept his eye in with 84 off 69 balls yesterday.

We liked what we saw of Suresh Raina when England toured India a couple of years ago. He was 19 at the time and we thought him organised, composed and dynamic as well as loads of other adjectives which we haven’t really thought about, but which make it sound like we know what we’re talking about.


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