India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that a big deal is made out of Suresh Raina’s susceptibility to short-pitched bowling and stressed that the UP lad is the best bet to bat at No.5 since Yuvraj Singh vacated that slot.
Asked about Raina’s same mode of dismissal as he failed to cope with a rising delivery when he was caught behind off Dwayne Smith for 22 against West Indies, Dhoni strongly defended the left-hander’s case.
“It’s the media that makes a big deal of this. Batsmen from other countries also get out to the short-pitched deliveries but it is something that is put only on our head – he (Raina) is the one who gets out to the short ball, bowl short to him. I think he is batting well,” said Dhoni after India’s four-wicket win against West Indies at WACA.
Dhoni also emphasised the need to have Raina at the No.5 position for India’s plans after Yuvraj Singh consistently did well in that position.
“Just look at the history of Indian cricket and the number of people who have batted at No.5 and just check how many have been successful? Yuvraj Singh must be the only player, who did consistently well for us and then he got promoted to bat at No 4. Otherwise, we have kept shuffling people. You will have to ask some of the batsmen who have batted at that number – Virat has batted at that number, Rohit has batted, and nobody has been really successful.
“So Raina is the best that we have got and we need to back him. Because if you don’t back him, the new guy who comes, he will be like, let me bat for myself and that’s not a good habit to grow. We don’t want that to happen in our team.” He then explained what he means by batting for selfish reasons.
“If you are batting in the 40th over, how much can you score? And if you get out, you will get out for 20-25 runs. So at the end of the third game, we would hear things like, “he is not scoring, he is out of form, he is only making 20 runs!
“But that’s the point where the strike-rate is more important because if you keep emphasising this point, then the batsman starts playing for himself. He can think “Yaar, why should I play an extra shot and get out? Already 45 overs have gone, let me stay 30 not out and be happy. But we don’t want to develop that habit. We are trying to make as many runs as possible because no score is a safe score in modern cricket. If you make 300, try to push it to 305 and so on,” he said.