Just a yer ago, Suresh Raina was the batting mainstay of the Indian team in the limited-over format. But time has changed for the worse for the hard-hitting left-handed batsman.
The Uttar Pradesh star last played international cricket during the T20 series against England earlier this year which can be taken as an indication that the proven campaigner is still in contention for the Champions Trophy. However, his exclusion from the BCCI’s central contract this month suggests otherwise.
Lack of game time has only made the matters worse for him. He did not feature in domestic limited-overs competitions since, skipping both the Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali (Twenty20) tournaments. He played only three Ranji Trophy games this season. All this situations even made a former coach from Raina’s state to say that the cricketer has become a reluctant cricketer after getting married in 2015 and is more focused on his family and setting up a business than ensuring his place in the Indian cricket team.
However, Raina is not paying too much heed to the comment and has cited his and his daughter’s poor health as the reason behind his lack of game time in the past few months.
“Logon ka kaam chahiye bolne ka – aisa hai, waisa hai,” he told Indian Express. “I have to take my daughter to hospital, I have to do the work at home and I can’t see how people can criticise me for that? Bahar ka banda nahi aayega na yeh sab karne?”
“I had informed my state selectors and BCCI. And I had to pull out after playing few Ranji games and Duleep. If I don’t take care of my young daughter or get some work done at home, who will?”
“It was a testing couple of months, and I had to miss out on cricket but circumstances were such – my health and my daugther’s. If that leads to criticism, then what can I say? Any family man can hopefully understand it – take bollywood for example: Shahid Kapoor took a decision to not act for 6 months after the birth of his daughter. Even Harbhajan Singh also took some time out with his new born daughter. All this can’t be criticised but logon ka kaam hai, kehna,” he added.
The southpaw has now recovered from his illness and will have a chance to impress the selectors before the ICC Champions Trophy when he leads Gujarat Lions in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League
“I was out for viral and illness, and couldn’t train much. It all had an effect but I am fully recovered now and started training. I am fit and ready to play IPL. Tabiyat kharaab tha, bhai, couldn’t train properly and logon ney shuru kar diya!,” he said.
“I have played for 12-13 years and not once has been my focus and dedication being questioned. What can I react when I don’t even know who this coach is? They didn’t take any name and I don’t know who it is. Koi be xyz kuch bol dega and what can I comment about it?And some nameless figure is now saying stuff or so the report claimed,” he added.
Speaking about the central contract snub, the India middle-order batsman expressed his surprise to miss out on the list even though he had played for India in the last six months.
“As far as BCCI contracts, my understanding is that if in the last six months you had played for India, you would at least be slotted in the C group. And I had played in T20 game. So I don’t know what happened. I don’t know whether they have changed their rules. Anyway my focus is to get back to playing for India,” he said.
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