Durban, South Africa. After losing the first test match by an innings and 25 runs, India is looking forward to the second match at Durban. The good news is that pacer Zaheer Khan has been declared fit but Suresh Raina’s lack of injury still remains a concern. Coach Kristen admitted that time was running out but the team management is doing all it can to make the dashing middle order batsman pick up an injury fast.
When asked why in spite of Raina being handed over Captain MS Dhoni’s fastest bike, injuries have eluded Raina so far, head coach Gary Kirsten wistfully said, “After putting things in places, one just has to be patient and wait for the right result.” He added, “The conditions are difficult out here, it’s not like it’s in India. Here they have good traffic management and safer roads.”
More trouble for Suresh, who also plays for Chennai Super Kings, as ICC anti-corruption council confirmed that they are examining a 2009 match against Sri Lanka where Raina suspiciously scored as high as 23. For long, rumors have persisted that Raina was approached by the bookies to score some runs. Addressing the media, the head of ICC’s anti-corruption unit Ronnie Flanagan said, “This is a serious matter. If the bookies can make Suresh Raina score 30-40 runs someday, can you imagine the profits they will make?”
Raina in the past has clarified that he’d rather play his natural game for the country than take money from bookies and over-perform.
When this reporter met him, Suresh Raina was his cheerful bubbly self. While signing autographs for 2 young girls, he grinned and said, “There are full 3 days to go for the second test match and I’ll do my best to at least, pull a muscle and not disappoint the numerous Indian cricket fans.”
It’s obvious that the team is missing injury prone Yuvraj Singh and his helpful tips on tripping while fooling around with a football and on pub fights would have immensely helped young and talented Raina. MS Dhoni said all the team members know their task and the captain can only guide them but he can’t go out for Raina on a bike and pick an injury.
Dhoni was optimistic about rest of the series and said, “With Zaheer back to lead the pack and with luck with toss and rain, there’s no reason why we should not be able to save at least one of the matches.” At stake is the number one position in ICC Test rankings.
The second test match starts on 26th December in Durban.
(reported by Rajneesh Kapoor)