A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: I won’t let my next Test opportunity ‘go unaccounted for’, says Suresh Raina

Raina has vowed to regain his Test spot

India batsman Suresh Raina has never been able to become a regular in the Test side since every opportunity he has been given has turned out to be a major flop.

However, the left-handed batsman is determined to change his dismal record in the longer format and announced that the next time he gets an opportunity to play in the Test side he won’t let it “go unaccounted for”.

“I have worked on my batting,” Raina, who has scored 768 runs in 17 Tests at a poor average of 28.44, told PTI. “If I get a chance to play Tests again, I won’t let it go unaccounted for sure. My career is shaping up well. I am hitting the ball well at the moment. I am waiting for another chance and this time I am confident of performing well.

“I have done pretty well in recent matches and I would like to stage a comeback. I don’t have a grudge, I don’t feel that somebody else has taken my place in the (Test) team. As long as the team is winning, I am a happy man.”

The national selectors’ decision to not consider including Raina for the four-Test series against Australia was a highly surprising one, especially after he had just come off a stellar ODI series against England, scoring 277 runs at an outstanding average of 92.33.

Raina last played Test cricket in September last year against New Zealand, but after failing to impress anyone with his performance, he was not included in the squad for the four-Test series against England later that year.

All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has taken Raina’s place in the squad and was instrumental to India’s recent 4-0 whitewash over the Australians.

“I am happy for Ravindra Jadeja, he is playing really well,” Raina said. “He had scored a lot of runs (in the domestic season).”

Despite Jadeja’s amazing performance throughout the Australia series, Raina has still not given up hope on regaining his spot.

“What is important for me is playing cricket and not thinking about how my Test career is shaping up,” Raina added. “I am not into future planning and all. I am concerned about my present and not the future.”

The left-hander believes there is no greater feeling than representing India in Test matches and vowed to continue working hard.

“It feels great whichever format you are playing for Team India,” Raina said. “I would definitely love to play more Test cricket. My aim is to play Test matches. For me, there is a different feel of Test cricket as it tests your character. You come to know about your mental toughness and most importantly, there is another level of satisfaction as a player.”

However, Raina admitted that the selectors’ decision not to pick him for the Australia Test series stung.

“You feel disappointed sometimes, it’s quite obvious,” Raina said. “But that particular phase does not linger on for too long. It goes with time. You start feeling like what’s next. My job is to perform, enjoy cricket and thank ‘God’ for whatever he has given me. Selection is not in my hand. My job is to perform for the country whenever you enter the ground.”

Raina refused to comment on opening batsman Virender Sehwag being dropped from the Test squad, stating that it was a decision for the selectors to make.

“It’s up to the selectors to decide,” he said. “He is a good player, he has performed well for the country. For me, what is good for the team, that’s important. Ultimately, winning is the most important thing.”

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