Veteran Indian batsman Suresh Raina surprisingly opted out of representing Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming Vijay Hazare Trophy. The southpaw, who made a comeback to domestic cricket with the recently-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, had earlier retired from international cricket and pulled out of IPL 2020. Although Chennai Super Kings still opted to retain him for IPL 2021, Raina has decided to withdraw himself from the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy. Without further delay, we shall explore four reasons why Raina could have made the decision.
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1. Poor run of form
Raina returned to competitive cricket after a hiatus of 18 months during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. While it seemed like the perfect stage for him to reintroduce himself in style, Raina endured a forgetful tournament. Uttar Pradesh managed just a solitary win in Elite Group A and finished second-bottom as Raina mustered just 102 runs in five innings.
While the Vijay Hazare Trophy could have been an opportunity to put an end to his wretched run of form, Raina might also have thought about preparing solely for IPL 2021 and put in the hard yards in training to get back to optimum form.
2. Bio-bubble fatigue
The post-pandemic scenario in cricket has been mentally taxing for many players. It is never easy to remain in a bio-bubble for extended periods and the mental aspect of it is probably a bigger challenge than going out there and getting on with the cricket. Even though Raina played no part in IPL 2020, he had a taste of the new normal during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy campaign with Uttar Pradesh.
With the next edition of the IPL just around the corner, Raina is expected to commit more of his time towards cricket. As such, the southpaw might have decided against spending further time away from family inside the bio-bubble during the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
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3. Making way for youth
Suresh Raina isn’t getting any younger. The 34-year-old earned his chance in international cricket at a very young age and went on to enjoy a memorable career. There is hardly any shortage of talent in the Indian domestic circuit and Raina will know there might be a number of youngsters waiting to represent the state and eventually hoping to make it big.
As someone who has come up through the ranks to the upper echelons of Indian cricket, Raina could have decided to skip the Vijay Hazare Trophy in a bid to not stand in the way of some of the players waiting in the wings.
4. Want to concentrate on T20 format
Suresh Raina had announced his retirement from international cricket last year and since the southpaw will not play any 50-over cricket on the international stage, playing a domestic 50-over tournament will be of no point. The CSK veteran, however, plays in the IPL and therefore his major focus lies on T20 cricket.