x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

India's Suresh Raina prepared if asked to play in Delhi Test against Australia

Recalled middle-order batsman replacement for injured Shikhar Dhawan.

Suresh Raina, right, last played in a Test series against New Zealand last year. Mahesh Kumar A / AP Photo
Suresh Raina, right, last played in a Test series against New Zealand last year. Mahesh Kumar A / AP Photo

Suresh Raina is not sure whether he will get to play in the fourth and final Test against Australia, but he is thrilled to be as close to the action as possible.

Raina, a mainstay in India's limited-overs sides, was selected as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan.

Dhawan, who fractured his left hand while fielding in Mohali during his debut Test earlier this week, is an opening batsman and given that Raina bats in the middle order, he is unsure whether he will find a place in the XI when the Delhi Test match gets underway tomorrow.

Ajinkya Rahane, who has been waiting in the wings for the past two Test series – against England and then Australia – is a top-order batsman and having opened for Mumbai, his domestic team, as well as for India in limited-overs cricket, the right-hander is likely to make his Test debut in Delhi.

As for Raina, he is just thankful for being picked in the squad. "It's great to be back in the team. God has been very kind," he told The Times of India newspaper yesterday. "As a cricketer you always want to be in action, but I can't comment whether I will play or not. It's the team management's decision."

The left-hander from Uttar Pradesh, who played the last of his 17 Tests against New Zealand in Bangalore last September, has scored 768 runs, including one century and seven fifties.

Raina said he was keeping his mind open to any possibility.

"I am ready for whatever the team management asks me to do," he said. "For the last three months, I have batted on different kinds of wickets, faced different challenges. So my preparations are very good. Let's see what happens.

"I have been in good form for the last two or three months. I had a good Irani Trophy and then performed well in Central Zone one-dayers. I have been consistently playing domestic cricket for the past three months. So, I am in good touch."

Dhawan must feel unlucky after creating history in Mohali by scoring the fastest hundred by a debutant in Test cricket as he made 187, which was also the highest score by an Indian batsman on debut.

Dhawan is also expected to miss the start of the Sunrisers Hyderabad's campaign in the Indian Premier League, which begins next month.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India estimates he will be ruled out for six weeks.

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