Suresh Raina rues lack of chances at Test level

Indian cricketer Suresh Raina completed his 10 years in international cricket on Thursday. The 28-year-old, who made his first appearance for the country in a One-Day International (ODI) in Sri Lanka on July 30, 2005, is one of the key players of the Indian limited-overs side. Making his debut at the age of 18, Raina has appeared for India in 218 ODIs and 44 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).

However, in a 10-year-long international career, Raina has played only 18 Tests and his numbers in the game’s traditional format is quite ordinary. It wasn’t that bad when it began. Raina made his Test debut in Sri Lanka in 2010, and began with a 120. Since then, the ride has been an inconsistent one and he didn’t reach the three-figure mark in the next 17 Tests that he played. His Test average of 26.48 as a middle-order batsman is poor for someone who has played 18 Tests. Most recently, he bagged a pair on his Test comeback in the fourth Test at Sydney in January this year.

Despite playing 18 Tests for the country, Raina feels he hasn’t been given enough chance at that level. In an interview with Hindustan Times, the left-hander said, “I have not been given enough chances to prove my calibre as a Test cricketer. You can’t judge a player on the basis of just one match after a hectic series of one-day and T20 games. I am not asking for five Test matches to prove myself. Give me two-three games. And if I don’t perform, drop me forever.”

Now focusing on a Test comeback, Raina said, “I am sure I have the ability to be a consistent performer at Test level, but it’s just a matter of getting the chance to do so. Before gearing up for the World T20, I will focus on my Test comeback.”

With the younger likes of KL Rahul and others making their mark, it seems unlikely that Raina will get a Test nod, but in the shorter format he is an asset and indispensable.