The career of India veteran Suresh Raina was not turning out as expected in the last couple of years. The southpaw recently returned to the Indian team for the ongoing three-match T20 International series against South Africa.
Raina, who was an integral part of India’s limited-overs side not very long ago, fell down the pecking order in the last few years.
The left-handed batsman has not played a single ODI since October 2015. He was recalled for the ODI series against New Zealand in 2016 but was ruled out of the team due to illness.
Raina finally received a glimmer of hope after being recalled for the T20 series against England last year. He fully capitalized on it by finishing the three-match series as the third highest run-scorer with 104 runs.
However, a few months later, he proved his worth with yet another impressive IPL season, scoring 442 runs in 14 matches which led to his inclusion in the standby list for the IC Champions Trophy.
But surprisingly the selectors gave him a cold shoulder thereafter. He reportedly failed the mandatory ‘Yo-Yo’ fitness test twice and his poor form in the Ranji Trophy made things even tougher for him.
However, things turned around when he finally cleared the fitness test. After that, he performed well in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy, which helped him in returning to the national team.
Back with the team now, Suresh Raina is hell-bent to prove the naysayers wrong. He has also revealed that how his wife Priyanka helped him remain on track during the tough phase.
“I am all set to change the perception of all those who thought I have drifted away from cricket, or those who dismissed me at a time when I was training in Holland. People will change their mind now,” said Raina who trained in Holland with Priyanka to get fit.
“Even when I was injured, I never stopped working hard. I went to Holland and trained for eight weeks, as training in India would have been difficult. There is a lot of pressure here – of appearances, friends’ invitations, other commitments – so it was Priyanka who persuaded me to go to Holland and spend eight weeks there. And those eight weeks transformed me,” Raina added.
“My wife may not understand cricket very well, but she wants to me score 100 or 150. She would also fight with me initially when I would not score well on the field (laughs), but she knew what I needed most at that point of time. It was my belief and passion in the game that kept me going. That phase made me a wiser person. In our field, you are dismissed too easily, but you know where you are lacking and you can work hard on that. People change their perception as soon as you score a 100,” Raina concluded.