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‘His India numbers could have been a lot better’: Rahul Dravid hails ‘team-man’ Suresh Raina – cricket

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Former India captain Rahul Dravid lauded the recently-retired Suresh Raina, calling him a complete ‘team-man’ who left everything on the cricket field. Raina, who made his India debut under Dravid’s captaincy in 2005 at the age of 19, announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday, marking the end of a near 15-year-long career. Dravid explained the impact Raina that left behind and recalled how he had a feeling the youngster from Ghaziabad was going to be an important player for India.

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“Suresh Raina was one of those really young and exciting talents who’ve come through the Indian system. Sort of in the middle of the 2000s, 2004-05, when you’re playing Under19 cricket, doing exceptionally well and you could see even at that time that Suresh was going to be a very important player for India,” Dravid said on a video posted by the BCCI.

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“That’s really how it played out in the last decade and a half. A lot of the success that India has had in white-ball cricket, lot of the great moments, great memories that India has had over the last so many years, Suresh has been a really big part of them. I think his contribution to Indian cricket, especially in the white-ball game has been fantastic.”

Raina played 226 ODIs for India, scoring 5615 runs at an average of 35.31. He was the first Indian batsman to score a century in all three formats of the game. He even captained India in a few matches in MS Dhoni’s absence but Raina’s biggest highlight on his CV would be the fact that he was part of India’s squad when the team won the 2011 World Cup and the Champions Trophy two years later in England.

“He’s a World Cup winner; he’s a Champions Trophy winner and just the fact that he contributed so much on the field. I mean just his energy, the enthusiasm he brought, the way he raised the standard of fielding,” Dravid added.

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Dravid felt Raina’s numbers could have been better had he batted higher up the order for India. During his career, Raina batted majorly at No. 5 or 6, playing 82 and 62 ODIs from those positions respectively. At No. 5, Raina has scored 2448 runs at an average of 35.48 and 1717 at No. 6 averaging 34.84. He’s batted at No. 3 and 4 for a combined 37 innings, scoring 1221 runs.

“It was one thing you felt that Suresh did all the difficult things for India – batting lower down the order when his numbers could have been a lot better if he’d batted higher up in the order,” Dravid said. “It has reflected in the success he’s had for CSK in the IPL (5368 runs from 193 matches – IPL’s second-highest run-getter) where he bats at No. 3 and has an absolutely phenomenal record. He’s one of the phenomenal players of the IPL in the last decade or so.”

Dravid weighed on Raina as utility player, who could do a bit of everything. That said, Raina’s Test career could never reach the heights his limited-overs career did despite scoring a hundred on debut against Sri Lanka. He ended up playing just 18 Tests with 768 runs, but as far as his ODI career is concerned, which Dravid called ‘fantastic’, Raina retired as one of India’s most loved cricketers.

“For India, for the most part of his career, he batted lower down, fielded at difficult positions, bowled some handy overs and always brought a lot to the team. Someone I will think of a terrific team-man, who always gave his best and brought some great energy to the game and was a very skilful batter,” Dravid said.

“I guess he couldn’t replicate the success of a debut hundred and couldn’t build on that in his Test career. But be that as it may, I think his contribution in one-day cricket in India is fantastic. He was part of a very successful Indian one-day team.”

Article by HINDUSTAN TIMES. The most credible source of cricket news.

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