New Delhi: Giving all the actors their desired roles is simply not possible in any stage. However, there are some who exist to take their chanches, cease the moment and script their own stories. Indian cricketer Suresh Raina is one of those fastidious actors, who knows what to do, and when.
On Saturday, the 28-year-old arrived in the centre when India were struggling with their main star-cast in Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane – not necessarily in that order – already robbed of their favourite roles. India were 92 for four wickets against an inspired but error-filled Zimbabwean outfit.
Earlier, cricket's perennial minnows have set a target of 288 runs for the defending champions in front of a packed Eden Park crowd in Auckland. Their innings witnessed Brendan Taylor playing that proverbial 'one last innings' for the Zimmies, and the stand-in skipper didn't waste the opportunity. His 110-ball innings for 138 runs was a treat.
However, the wicketkeeper-batsman's brilliance was overshadowed by an Indian who's seeking his chances in an star-studded squad. After getting limited chances in the previous matches, Raina took the centre-stage today playing an innings of a lifetime. He, in company of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, chased down the tricky target with relative ease after India's top-order conspired to test other players, especially Raina.
Raina grasped the opportunity with both hands, scoring only the fifth ODI century in his 213 matches against Zimbabwe. Yes, he was given a life-line when he was warming up, in the 40's – a dropped catch by Hamilton Masakadza.
The Indian all-rounder indeed started the tournament with a splendid 74-run knock against the arch-rivals Pakistan, but soon found himself asking for meatier roles. He was not required in the second match against the United Arab Emirates, then managed 22 runs against the West Indies, another limited role against Ireland followed, wherein he was solely utilised as a specialist bowler.
But today's unbeaten century will once again reassure the Indian camp that, in Suresh Raina, the defending champions have a world class player who can bat, bowl and field. And all he needs is such occasional chances, which proves his existence.