Home > Features >

Suresh Raina faces uphill battle to usurp Virat Kohli as India’s No 2

Suresh Raina (left) lost his vice-captaincy of the Indian team to Virat Kohli © Getty Images
Suresh Raina (left) lost his vice-captaincy of the Indian team to Virat Kohli © Getty Images

With the battle for MS Dhoni’s successor heating up, R Vishal analyses Suresh Raina’s captaincy going into the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against Bangladesh.

It’s a One-Day International (ODI) in July 2013 at Port-of-Spain against West Indies. India are coasting to an easy win having posted a 300-plus score thanks to Virat Kohli’s hundred. Despite having run through the hosts’ top-order, tailenders Kemar Roach and Sunil Narine offer stubborn resistance.

The young side was getting restless. Suresh Raina drops his second regulation chance during the innings and the bowler Ravindra Jadeja, who is peeved reportedly, yells out, “You lost your place as captain, have you lost your interest in fielding as well?” The two players get into an ugly confrontation a little later. What might have possibly triggered the chirpy, banter-loving Raina was a reminder that he had fallen down the pecking order.

Straight after India’s ICC World Cup 2011 win, it was Raina who was leading the team in the same West Indian shores with a firm grasp of the ‘Next big thing’ crown.

Kohli’s exponential rise as the poster boy of Indian cricket’s next-gen had left his peers far behind. Having shrugged off the episode and poor form, the southpaw has yet again come back to his destructive best. Having walloped some of the world’s best in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 and Kohli’s absence has seen Raina take over the reins in the upcoming tour of Bangladesh.

Approach

It’s neither MS Dhoni’s Zen-like composure nor Kohli’s abrasive, in-your-face template. It’s just a reflection of the Uttar Pradesh batsmen — setting an example with the bat and full of energy on the field.

Pluses

It’s not certain if Dhoni’s influence rubbed off on him but he is a pretty calm customer and from the school of captains who lead from the front with the bat. On the back of yet another stellar IPL 2014 performance, the Uttar Pradesh southpaw commands instant respect from team-mates and peers alike.

Minuses

If Raina’s brief stints as captain are anything to go by, leadership is not a role he has entirely felt comfortable with. Throughout his nine-year international career, he has had to live with the ‘Next Big Thing’ tag. Of the nine ODIs that Raina has captained so far, his record has been less than impressive. The win-loss record reads five defeats with a mere four wins. A couple of those defeats came against Zimbabwe. Kohli on the other hand, took India to a dominant 5-0 win against Zimbabwe in 2013.

Experience

As mentioned earlier, Raina has an unimpressive record as captain. Throughout his career, he has had imposing figures to lead the way. If it was Rahul Dravid in his early years as a player, Dhoni backing him to the hilt saw his stock rise for country and franchise cricket. Making that step from having been a go-to man to spearheading a young and hungry team needs a good mix of natural leadership qualities coupled with authority on the side. This is where Dhoni enjoyed immense success in his early years as India captain and Kohli has been groomed for at Under-19 level and for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

While captaincy would certainly come as a shot in the arm for Raina in the upcoming Bangladesh tour, there is no hiding from the fact this is nearly a test run merely a reward for his good work since the ICC World T20 2014. Anything less than a 3-0 victory against a full-strength Bangladesh team and it might end up being curtains for Suresh Raina — the Indian skipper.

Catch all the stories related to India’s tour of Bangladesh 2014 here

(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Pakistan hold advantage at stumps on Day 3 of 1st Test against Australia

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Duleep Trophy 2014: Central Zone lead by 81 runs as North Zone bowled out for 457

Laxmi Ratan Shukla to lead Bengal in upcoming One-Day series

David Warner feels lucky to have equalled Don Bradman’s record

Kapil Dev’s Dev Musco Lighting accused of inflated costs by GCA

VVS Laxman advises budding batsmen to score big hundreds

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Don Bradman — even if every chance he ever gave in his career was accepted, he would still remain head and shoulders above the others

Len Hutton’s hundred gets reported as illness

Viv Richards’ 6/41 bowls West Indies to a thrilling victory over India

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

How to make tamarind or imli packs for hair and skin

Duleep Trophy 2014: Central Zone lead by 81 runs as North Zone bowled out for 457

BREAKING NEWS: Fire on the sets of Yeh Hai Mohabbatein and Kumkum Bhagya

Pankaj Advani shocks Peter Gilchrist to win World Billiards Championship title

Laxmi Ratan Shukla to lead Bengal in upcoming One-Day series

Google partners Oxford University to teach machines to think

Top Sex Positions: Frog Princess

NGOs pursue education for all

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Nokia turnaround since handset unit sale continues, reports $950 million Q3 net profit

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here