Should Dhoni drop out-of-form Suresh Raina?

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Published: Monday, January 20, 2014, 12:54 [IST]
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Napier, Jan 20: As Virat Kohli keeps growing as an international cricketer, Team India is seeing the decline of another talented young man.

Kohli has been the superstar of Indian cricket in the last two years. He has plundering runs at will in the 50-over format and Sunday (January 19) saw him register yet another hundred - his 18th in One Day Internationals.

Should Dhoni drop out-of-form Raina?

At the same time, Suresh Raina seems to be slowly slipping out of Indian team. Though he has got the backing of the captain MS Dhoni and selectors, it will not be long before the left-hander is shown the exit door if the current poor form continues.

Raina has been in the Indian ODI team since July, 2005. It has been more than 8 years and over 150 ODIs - 187 to be precise. Since his debut against Sri Lanka in Dambulla, he has scored 4,530 runs at 35.39 with 3 hundreds and 29 fifties.

The 27-year-old started his Test career in 2010 with a century on debut but inability to handle the short-ball has cost him the place in the team. Now, the same problem has returned to haunt him in the 50-over format too.

In the first ODI yesterday in Napier, he again fell into the bounce-trap. His pull shot led to his downfall against the Kiwis.

Since June, 2013, Raina has been struggling to score runs. In 28 matches from then to date, he has aggregated 462 runs at 25.66 with just one half century. His highest in last 10 innings is 39.

That knock of 65 not out came against minnows Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on August 1, 2013.

During this phase of struggles, Dhoni even tried Raina at the number four position too with an eye on the 2015 World Cup. Even there, Raina failed to rediscover form and was forced to move down the order again.

Though some might argue that Raina arrives at the crease late in the order and has very little time to score, what is more worrying is he failed to cement the No. 4 spot too when given enough chances against Australia in seven-match series in October- November last year.

If it were to be any other player, maybe the selectors and the team management would have decided to give a break. But Raina is enjoying the support of them despite lack of runs.

With just over a year for the start of the World Cup, selectors need to act tough. And with Raina's susceptibility to the short ball, he will be welcomed with the same in Australia and New Zealand pitches for the World Cup.

It is high time for the Uttar Pradesh and Chennai Super Kings batsman to come good soon or else face the axe.

Suresh Raina in ODIs since June, 2013

Matches: 28; Innings: 22; Runs: 462; Average: 25.66. Fifties: 1; Hundreds: 0

Overall: 187 ODIs; Runs: 4530; Average: 35.39; Tons: 3; Fifties: 29


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