India captain M S Dhoni has requested the BCCI to consider giving middle-order batsman Suresh Raina a break from cricket, especially considering that he has been on the ball since India's tour of Sri Lanka. Dhoni added that if Raina was played in more than just the first two one dayers against New Zealand, he might have to be rested for the first test against South Africa at Centurion beginning on Dec 16.
Responding to the question as to whether Cheteshwar Pujara or M Vijay would take Rain's place for the tour opener in the event he is made to play out all the ODIs against the Kiwis, Dhoni said, "If he doesn't get a break in the ODI series then you have to replace him. He is at a point where he needs a break from cricket."
"A 10 to 15-day break will really help him. He has played as much cricket as I have or most of other cricketers. He has played one more series in Zimbabwe. At times international cricket really drains you. More than the physical part it's always that mental part that is important. Unfortunately, most of the senior players are missing from the ODI series which means he had to play."
Raina failed to impress over the Test series against New Zealand, scoring just 26 runs in four innings, but was named as part of the side for the first two one-dayers against the tourists. There is only five days between the end of the ODI series against New Zealand and the start of the first Test in South Africa.
Dhoni said that the management had considered the idea of resting Raina for the Nagpur Test, but decided to play him with the hope that he would be rested subsequently. Five players - Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Virender Sehwag- will be rested from the ODI series.
In Tests, Raina has a batting average of 40.77 and in one-dayers, 36.44 with a strike rate of over 90. He has scored one hundred in Tests and three tons in ODIs.