Despite maiden bilateral series victory on the South African soil, team India needs a man who can be flexible with the position and help the team out with his bat in a critical situation, especially in positions from no.4 to no.7. As team India got accomplished with the wrist-spinners who can pick wickets in the middle overs, the introspection has begun to bring the team to a perfect stature for the upcoming world cup 2019.
The team India made a good start in the three one-dayers they batted first with 133, 166 and 106 runs respectively in the last 20 overs. The team succeeded to prevent the struggle with the slower pitches, but Ajinkya Rahane is expected to perform even better in this series. As the world cup season is getting closer, we cannot imagine replacing Dhoni. The need of the hour is a man who can back up Hardik Pandya, can play in an arrogant style from the very first ball, capable of rebuilding the innings in a crucial situation and should be experienced enough to play overseas.
Suresh Raina seems to be the man who can fit these credentials. He is a big hitter, good fielder, and a good off-spinner experienced enough to play in the limited overs series, as well as the ODIs. His placement in the team is expected to bring a right-left balance in the batting line-up.
Due to poor performance and injury, Raina was out of the team since 2015 and made some lightning appearance in the team in 2016 and 2017. He failed to clear the YO-YO test earlier and was out for the ODI series against the safaris. This all-rounder expressed his disappointment in this context that he was dropped out for the ODI series in spite of his fitness and performance.
He played his last ODI in a series against South Africa in 2015 and T20s in 2017 against England. He has to do well in the T20 series against South Africa to cement his place in the team. He should focus on playing in the middle-order, he was habituated to play in. He had to miss out the Ranji trophy earlier due to the illness of his father and daughter at the same time. But he stood as the sixth highest scorer in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament with a strike rate of 150.
Raina is expected to come back with IPL, with his familiar captain Dhoni, and middle-order place in the CSK franchise. There is a saying that a come-back is harder than a debut in Indian cricket. He has to work hard to secure his place as the top order can easily face the new ball and the middle order has to do really hard to settle down.
As the Indians have only two series outside Asia, in England this year and against New Zealand next year, Raina has to make it fast and hard to prove his competency.