India comprehensively defeated Australia by 37 runs in the 1st T20 at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday. While Virat Kohli came up with his career-best knock in the shortest format of the international game, scoring 90 runs from just 55 balls, Rohit Sharma helped India get off to a rollicking start to their innings.
But Suresh Raina's innings of 41 runs from 34 balls in the first T20 on Tuesday was criticised by the fans as it was an unlike-Raina innings in this format of the game. It is true that he was struggling out there in the middle to time the ball.
He was trying hard to play his natural game. But one must not forget, Raina is one of the keys to India's success in the upcoming T20 tournament like Asia Cup and the ICC World T20.
One needs to understand that the swashbuckling left-handed batsman was dropped from the ODI squad against Australia recently. Believe it or not, India did miss someone like Raina in the middle-order.
It is but true that he has been an integral member of the Indian team for long now and he would not have played those reckless shots that the likes of Rishi Dhawan and Gurkeerat Singh Mann played in the fourth ODI. India lost nine wickets in a span of 46 runs in that game at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Raina just came back to the India side after a short break from international cricket. Everybody knows that he is one of the most hard-working cricketers in that Indian squad and needs time to settle down and get used to the pressure of international cricket.
There is a lot of time and a number of games that India will play ahead of the ICC World T20 2016. In this period, Raina is likely to get back his rhythm and his T20 batting instincts. We all know how dangerous he can be in this format of the game and the fans should be patient and not criticise him at this moment on the basis of just one game.
In fact, Raina's innings in the first T20 at the Adelaide Oval was equally important. Raina realised that he was not being able to time the ball properly and he gave more of the strike to Kohli, who was going hammer and tongs at the other end of the wicket. The left-handed batsman admitted to this at the post-match talk show when commentator Harsha Bhogle asked him about it.
Just like Kohli and Rohit are going through a purple patch and Dhoni's instincts seem to be working fine, imagine if Raina is back on song, India might just become an invincible side in T20 cricket and that will be a major problem for all the opponents in the upcoming ICC World T20 2016, which will be held in India in March.