Suresh Raina is mighty impressed with some of the talented and young cricketers that the country has seen over the last year. They stamped their authority with impressive performances both at home and overseas. At present some of them are in England, readying for what promises to be a gruelling five-Test series, while another group is in Sri Lanka for three T20Is and as many ODIs.
Having made his India debut in 2005, Suresh Raina established himself as one of the key middle-order batsmen. Suresh Raina grew in stature before eventually, he announced his international retirement on August 15 last year.
Currently basking in the success of the release of his biography, Believe, 34-year-old Suresh Raina is enjoying life away from the field for the time being, and in an interview, he spoke on a range of topics. He was asked to name young players from the current India set-up that impressed him.
Suresh Raina Names Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, And Axar Patel As 3 Youngsters To Watch Out For
Suresh Raina named RCB opener Devdutt Padikkal (473 runs from 15 matches in IPL 2020 and 195 runs from six matches in IPL 2021) and CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (204 runs averaging 51 in IPL 2020 and 196 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021) and Delhi Capitals spin all-rounder Axar Patel who performed well in absence of Ravindra Jadeja in his debut Test series against England.
Axar Patel made his Test debut in February 2021, six years after playing his maiden limited-overs match for India, and starred so much so with the ball that he ended up picking 27 wickets from the 3 matches in the series. He took 4 five-wicket hauls as England lost the series 3-1.
“I think Devdutt Padikkal from Karnataka. After him, Ruturaj Gaikwad from Maharashtra. He is a gun player. Axar Patel has worked really hard, and he performed brilliantly well in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja,” Raina said.
However, the one name that surprisingly eluded Suresh Raina’s list was that of Rishabh Pant, who has been a different player altogether since his return to the Test team in the series against Australia last year. He missed out on being considered a senior player after match-winning innings in Australia and against England at home.
“See, he has entered the senior category. He’s grown. He is also hitting fours now and not only sixes,” he explained.
Besides, Suresh Raina also picked out pacer Mohammed Siraj and credited Rahul Dravid for his contribution to Indian cricket.
Suresh Raina Credited Rahul Dravid Who Has Worked Hard With The Under 19 Team
Rahul Dravid, as a former coach of India A and Under-19 teams, has helped shape careers of some of Indian cricket’s promising youngsters such as Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, and continues to work towards its development as NCA chief and currently coach of the Indian team in Sri Lanka. Suresh Raina wished the Indian team well ahead of their series and sent his best wishes to captain Shikhar Dhawan.
“Even Mohammed Siraj is bowling so well. And somewhere I feel credit goes to Rahul Dravid who has worked extremely hard with the Under-19 team which is why he is with the senior team now and my best wishes to Shikhar Dhawan, that he does well and return to the Test team because he too is a very big player for India and he must be hoping to perform well in Sri Lanka,” Raina added.
Outside of the Indian team, Suresh Raina listed out names of some of the fringe players, who have produced consistent performances in both domestic cricket and the IPL.
“Then definitely Priyam Garg from Uttar Pradesh. Karn Sharma is another player from Uttar Pradesh who has performed really well. From Punjab, there is Abhishek Sharma, who has impressed me a lot. Sachin Baby is also putting in a lot of hard work,” he added.
Priyam Garg played 14 games in his debut IPL season in 2020 and scored one half-century managing 133 runs in 14 games. Abhishek Sharma has picked 5 wickets in 17 matches and scored 150 runs playing from 2019. Both plays for SRH. Karn Sharma has picked 59 scalps from 67 games while Sachin Baby hasn’t played after 2017 in the IPL.