Suresh Raina is leading India Blue    AFP
Suresh Raina is leading India Blue AFP

The concept of Duleep Trophy allows each team to play only two matches in the group stage, making both of them must-win in order to secure direct qualification for the final. Leading India Blue in Duleep Trophy 2017 is Suresh Raina, who is eyeing a national team comeback with his performance in this very tournament. Of course, he would aim to play most matches and what came in between him and victory is rain. Primarily heavy downpour and later a wet outfield caused game to stall on Day Three of the second match. Two full sessions were wasted and Raina is not happy with the arrangements made by Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA). India Blue got 3 points for their first innings lead, which could have well been 6, had they secured an outright win. India Red draw with India Blue; top the table

We dominated for all four days. Had we got to play yesterday, it would ve been six points for sure, Raina told Cricbuzz after India Blue drew the match with India Red. Their peak performances included triggering a batting collapse as well as pair of centuries and half-centuries each by team s batsmen. Raina himself scored 52. Raina s side was going strong in the chase when rain caused a halt. But what came as a surprise was, despite conditions being favourable to play, the umpires called it a day.

I’m happy with the way we played and took the first innings lead. Especially, after yesterday, when it rained, and we had only half an hour (of play possible). This (three points) is very important for us. We feel, had we played yesterday [Saturday], things could’ve been different.

Whatever happened, for the lack of facilities or the lack of initiative by the UPCA CEO, he (Deepak Sharma) has to take the initiative and give us a proper channel. You can t just say something and expect something. They have to be very professional from their side as well. We’re here to play Duleep Trophy and Duleep Trophy has been a very important tournament for so many years. It’s important to take this seriously. We didn’t have a proper game, that was the sad part, slammed a disappointed Raina.

Raina seemed confident that had they played a couple of sessions more, they could bag six crucial points.

We could have won outright. We could have sat nicely with six points. We bowled really well, we got five wickets [in the second innings]. They said there was an issue with the cover and didn’t take the responsibility. That guy (Deepak) came late. Till then, I spoke to few of the groundsmen, they worked really hard. Credit goes to the umpires for trying to make some game possible. It s something that he (Deepak) has to take seriously, otherwise there’s no point hosting.

If you see, I supported them (UPCA) in the first press conference. I didn t know what they had and what they didn’t. When you are hosting something, you have to take responsibility. This is one of the biggest trophies. We have all come from here. We need to take this seriously. It’s everyone’s responsibility – players, media, organisers. No point in saying something and not delivering, the India Blue captain added.

Raina also raised concern about the Kanpur Stadium.

We held games in Noida. There was a game in Lucknow as well. Kanpur is the oldest Test ground (in Uttar Pradesh). You can t make such mistakes and lose the charm of Test cricket here. So many UP guys have played on this ground. I have got so much from here. But if you make such mistakes, it could all be gone.

Raina was more disappointed because he hails from Ghaziabad and represents Uttar Pradesh in Ranji Trophy. Over the years, the venue at Kanpur has been his home ground.