It is now up to Raina to make the most of this lifeline which he has been given to revive his career and repay the faith Dhoni has in him Getty Images

For a last decade or so, Suresh Raina has been in and out of the Indian team. Though for the most part of this period he has been an integral part of the limited-overs squads, things have changed of late. The emergence of young players like KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and Mandeep Singh has put his place under question. He was not a part of the Indian team that travelled under MS Dhoni to Zimbabwe this year. Also he was not a part of the Twenty20 (T20) International squad for the tour of United States of America (USA). But the southpaw has been named in India s One-Day International (ODI) squad for the first three ODIs against New Zealand. The series, which starts from October 16 at Dharamsala, will be a great opportunity for Raina to resurrect his career.

With the pressure firmly being on him to do well and retain his spot among the galaxy of young stars, Raina has other ideas. The Uttar Pradesh (UP) cricketer does not in fact believe that the pressure is on him. He instead believes he has been an important member of the team and he was rested, and not dropped, from the team. “There is no pressure on me as I have always been an integral part of the ODI team. I was only rested when the youngsters were given exposure during the Zimbabwe ODI series. Whether I was rested or dropped (for the Zimbabwe trip), I will strive to cement my place in the Indian team,” a confident Raina was quoted as saying by a report in Mid-Day.

The left-handed batsman, who can give the ball a decent turn with his right hand, further added, “I am confident of my abilities, be it ODIs or T20s. I have been hitting the ball sweetly in the nets and it augurs well for me as India have a long season ahead. We have been doing well in Test matches, now it is time to continue that good work in ODIs too,” he added. Raina, who did not come out to bat in his team UP s loss against Madhya Pradesh (MP) in the Ranji Trophy 2016-17 season opener in Hyderabad last week due to flu, said he is perfectly fine now. “It was just a touch of flu. Now I have recovered and am back in the nets. I will soon join the Indian team in Dharamsala for the opening ODI match there.

Raina has been an out-and-out team man. He has also been skipper Dhoni s go-to man in ODIs. He can bat, he can save runs in the field with his exceptional fielding and invariably gets breakthroughs for the team with his off-spinners. That is precisely why the captain has immense faith in him and has brought him back to the fold despite his indifferent form. It is now up to him to make the most of this lifeline which he has been given to revive his career and repay the faith Dhoni has in him.