Dharamsala, Jan 28: Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar on Sunday lauded Suresh Raina's under-pressure knock against England in the fifth and final ODI at Dharamsala and following his consistent performance, he said that the middle-order batsman could bat up the order.
Suresh Raina came in to bat when India were tottering at 49/4, as Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh were dismissed for a nought. With Dhoni also falling prey to Finn while he was on 15, Raina and Jadeja (39) took the initiative to post a decent total after being sent to bat at Dharamsala.
The 26-year-old also secured his 4th fifty this year off 7 matches, including a unbeaten 89 against England this year at an average of 65.20.
The left-handed batsman has collected 326 runs in the 7 matches played against Pakistan and England this year, making him the most consistent player for India this season along with skipper MS Dhoni.
Talking about his knock, Gavaskar felt Raina should bat higher up the order as he played brilliantly to help the hosts post a decent 226 after they had lost 4 wickets for 49 runs within 13 overs.
I am surprised that he (Raina) does not bat at number three because he does bat at number three for India in T20 tournaments. I imagine that he should be batting at three or four. It hasn't happened because India look upon him to be a finisher. But as a batsman, you want to bat higher up the order," he said.
Gavaskar further added that Raina should be given an opportunity to bat up the order since he is the only one who has been scoring heavily for India in the last couple of matches. Moreover, he felt if Raina bats at No 3, he would get more time to settle down.
"When you bat up the order, you get many more balls to bat, to settle down. Have a look at what it has done to Ian Bell. The two times England won in this series, he has been the one with the big runs."
MS Dhoni had also admitted that he Raina is playing consistently and could be given a chance to bat higher up the order after the team's victory at Mohali.
"He has learnt it but at the same time, he has to curb his instincts. He is a naturally aggressive player, he loves to play his strokes but he has to curb it for the interest of the team. It will be good if we can give him some chances to bat slightly up the order. At 5, 6 and 7, you don't get much opportunity. The max you get generally is 60 or 70 and if you don't get runs, it's 10 or 15. We will see but definitely we have to give him a bit of chance up the order," Dhoni said after the team's five-wicket win over England at Mohali on Wednesday.