Suresh Raina has not played for the Indian cricket team since the 2018 series against England. (Image credit: Twitter)
Suresh Raina is currently on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his knee. The left-hander, who has not played for India since 2018, is still optimistic of representing India. With two back-to-back World T20s in 2020 and 2021, Raina has thrown his name in the conundrum that is plaguing the Indian cricket team at the moment which is the number four position. Raina has had sufficient experience in the middle order and he believes he can be the number four that India has been searching.
"I can be the No. 4 for India. I have batted in that slot before and delivered. I am looking forward to an opportunity with two T20 World Cups coming up," Raina said in a chat with The Hindu. Raina has 5615 runs in ODIs and 1605 in 78 T20Is. When it comes to the No.4 spot in both the formats, Raina has a slightly mixed bag. In ODIs, he averages 45 in that position but in T20Is, he averages 24. Raina has more success at No.3 in T20Is while in ODIs, he has an average of over 30 in all positions from number four to six.
The search for the number four situation is still continuing for the Indian cricket team. Rishabh Pant has been put in that position but he has not fired. The lack of contributions from Pant has increased the pressure on him and there are reports that he could be dropped for the first Test in Vizag.
Raina, though, could only sympathise with Pant and the current situation. "He appears confused, is not playing his natural game. He is looking for singles, blocking, and appears lost. Someone needs to talk to him as MS Dhoni would do to players. Cricket is a mental game and Pant has to be backed to play his attacking brand of cricket. Right now he seems to be playing under instructions and it is not working," Raina said.
Raina, who has played with Dhoni in the Chennai Super Kings set-up as well as in the Indian cricket team, said the former India skipper needed to move up the order in the semi-final against New Zealand in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in order to guide the likes of Pant. "Had he come earlier, he could have guided Pant and then we still had Pandya and Jadeja. Even then he kept India in the fight till the very end and we would have won but for the direct hit from Guptill," Raina said.