Coach Ravi Shastri feels Suresh Raina showed his mettle in South Africa

After being in international wilderness for almost twelve months, veteran left-hander Suresh Raina marked his return in national colours in the recent three-match T20I series against South Africa. Despite his time away from the international scene, the 31-year-old southpaw showed his class and justified his selection with style, impressing India head coach Ravi Shastri.

Having been promoted to bat at his favoured No.3 position, Suresh Raina showed a glimpse of his explosive best in the first two T20I matches before coming into his own in the series decider (3rd T20I), where he scored a brilliant 43 off 27 balls and claimed one wicket to help India beat South Africa and win the series 2-1. For his match-winning knock, the Uttar Pradesh-captain was also adjudged the player of the match.

Suresh Raina a ‘fearless’ cricketer, says Ravi Shastri

Raina’s performances in his comeback series did not go unnoticed with Team India head coach Ravi Shastri who heaped praise on the destructive left-hander and labeled him a ‘fearless’ cricketer.

“He’s vastly experienced and he showed what experience can do. What I liked the best was he was fearless,” Ravi Shastri told India Today.

“What I liked was the intent because normally when you come back into a side after a long period of time you can be playing for your place. And that can put added pressure on you. But he went out there as if he was never out of the side and batted in that fashion. It was very good to see,” Ravi Shastri continued.

After a solid showing in the T20I series in South Africa, Raina will be hoping to build on his good form and lead India’s charge in the upcoming 2018 Nidahas Trophy, which will be played in a T20I tri-series format featuring hosts Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. Raina has also stated that he will use upcoming assignment as a pathway to into India’s ODI side as captain Kohli and coach Shastri are still looking for a reliable solution to their middle-over and finishing woes in the 50-overs format.

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