India cricket star Suresh Raina has brightened his prospects of earning a India recall as he has cleared the much-talked about yo-yo fitness test. The left-hander took to Instagram on Thursday, December 21 to confirm the news and thank "trainers, coaches and officials" at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.
Raina last played for India in February earlier this year in a T20I against England, in which he was the top-scorer (63) with five sixes. He has not played an ODI at the international level since January 2015.
The Uttar Pradesh batsman, who had been a regular in the limited-over squads of India, has been finding it difficult to get into the squad due to lack of runs at the highest level. Notably, he was also missing from the list of contracted players, announced earlier this year, after which a former UP Ranji team coach had called him "reluctant cricketer", whose focus was not entirely on cricket.
Raina, along with World Cup-winning all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, failed multiple yo-yo tests in the past. Notably, the 31-year-old, along with MS Dhoni had worked on his fitness ahead of the ongoing limited-over rubbers against Sri Lanka. However, the former did not make the cut despite sweating it out at the NCA.
Ray of hope for Raina
Raina will now be relieved after having cleared the yo-yo test, which has become a prerequisite to get into the Indian team.
With questions being asked about India's fragile middle-order, Raina, who has the wealth of experience, might be in consideration when the selection committee sits down to pick India's ODI and T20I squads for South Africa tour, starting February 1. Notably, a 17-man squad for the Test series, starting January 5, has already been announced.
However, concerns over Raina's batting form still remain. The left-hander hit only 96 runs from five matches as UP failed to go past the group stages of the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2017/18 campaign.
Raina's hopes will now be pinned on his performances in the upcoming Zonal T20 league (starting January 8) and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (starting January 24) as they have been advanced ahead of the IPL auction, which in turn will be before the limited-over leg of South Africa tour.