Why is Suresh Raina here in Mumbai even as Uttar Pradesh are currently playing Orissa in a Ranji Trophy Elite match? Shouldn't he be cracking more first-class double hundreds to push for a recall to the Test side ahead of India's tour of Australia next month? What sort of precedent does this set? Are Indian cricketers allowed to skip Ranji matches for the sake of a promotional event?
Raina, the brand ambassador of a financial company, was in the city on Friday evening as part of a promotional event. Raina, who is fully fit for competitive cricket, was taken aback when asked to explain his decision to skip the match.
"I took permission from sir (most probably referring to Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association President Rajiv Shukla). I wanted to celebrate my birthday (November 29). So, I got rest for one game. I will go to the NCA (National Cricket Academy) after this. I can join the Indian team at Cuttack for the ODI series," Raina told reporters on Friday.
When contacted by SUNDAY MiD DAY, a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official confirmed that Raina had requested for rest. "Yes, he (Raina) captained in the first two matches for Uttar Pradesh but wanted to skip this game for personal reasons," he said.
Raina has established two things with his excuse. Firstly, he has picked himself for the forthcoming one-day series against WI. Secondly, he has proved that BCCI's centrally contracted players can pick and choose their Ranji Trophy matches.