'Overworked Raina deserves a break'

'Overworked Raina deserves a break'

 The skipper got one half of his wish as the selectors opted to give him a break, but named Raina in the squad for the first two matches.

Without saying it in as many words, Dhoni made his disappointment at that selectorial call all too obvious, conceding that in the absence of a break, Raina might have to be left out of the eleven for the first Test against South Africa beginning in Centurion on December 16.

“If he doesn’t get a break during the ODI series (after the first two games), then you have to (replace him),” Dhoni told newsmen on Tuesday, a few minutes after India wrapped up the final Test by an innings.

“One of the options was to give him rest during the last Test but we thought he was most likely to get a break in the ODIs, so we played him here. Unfortunately, he is not getting a break in the ODIs also. It’s a bit tough on him.

“If he and the team do well in the first two games, hopefully he will get a bit of rest in the last few ODIs.”

Raina has been short on runs for the last four Tests, and Dhoni said his mind, more than his body, needed time to recharge itself. “He has played as much cricket as I have,” Dhoni pointed out. “At times, international cricket really drains you.

“You need a break; more than the physical part, it’s always the mental part that is important. He is at a point where he needs a break from cricket, a break of 10-15 days will really help him.”

Asked why Raina wasn’t rested for the one-dayers when so many others had been, he replied with a wry grin, “I don’t want to answer to that question. Once you start doing well in Test cricket, especially if you are part of the Indian team, the pressure of performance is always there every time you turn up on the field. Being the leading fielder means you have to keep yourself very active in the field. It’s very tiring, we have to keep that in mind.”

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