Suresh Raina hasn’t playing for India for almost two years now. He last donned the India jersey on England tour in 2018 which was also his comeback. But the left-hander couldn’t impress in the ODI and T20I series on the tour and was eventually left out of the team soon once again. Though Raina isn’t a regular part of the team now, there were times in the first few years of his career when he played a plethora of matches and was doing well too.
Moreover, even when out of form, he was backed by MS Dhoni who took up the captaincy of team in the ODIs soon after India’s T20 World Cup triumph in 2007. Recalling those playing days and the 2011 World Cup, the former India cricketer Yuvraj Singh has revealed that Dhoni backed Raina a lot while also stating that the southpaw was rather the captain’s favourite then.
Ahead of the 2011 World Cup, Yuvraj wasn’t in great form and somewhat same was the case with Raina. But both of them made it to the squad and according to the former, his ability to bowl left-arm spin led to him being preferred in the XI in the actual tournament. On the other hand, Raina got to play only four matches and wasn’t even a certain starter in the league matches. However, he went on to play knockout matches and the final playing a crucial role with the bat.
Suresh Raina had a larger support then, says Yuvraj Singh
Talking about the selection dilemma during those days, Yuvraj Singh recalled that Suresh Raina always used to get MS Dhoni’s backing and termed him ‘captain’s favourite’. “Suresh Raina had a larger support then, because MS used to back him. Every captain has a favourite player and I think Mahi really backed Raina at that time. Yusuf Pathan was also performing well at that time and even I was doing well and was also picking wickets.
“And Raina was not in a good touch then. They did not have a left-arm spinner at that time and I was picking wickets so they did not have any choice,” Yuvraj said while speaking to India Today on Instagram live session on Saturday. As far as Raina is concerned, after playing 228 ODIs and 78 T20Is (and 18 Tests) for India, it is looking tough for him to make a comeback now into the team.