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Suresh Raina opens up about sleepless night before Test debut

Suresh Raina (right) made his Test debut in 2010

Bengaluru, May 31: India batsman Suresh Raina reveals how Yuvraj Singh's call kept him sleepless before he made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2010.

Raina, who made his international debut in 2005, made his debut in the longest format of the game five years later and coincidentally India played Sri Lanka away from home on both the occasions, but the two innings were entirely contrasting.

While Raina began his limited-overs career with a first-ball duck against Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan in 2005, the Southpaw scored a century in his maiden Test innings in 2010.

Although he scored 120 on debut, Raina revealed to former India opener and commentator Aakash Chopra on 'AakashVani' that Yuvraj's call gave him a sleepless night in Sri Lanka as it was very hot.

"Yuvi paa (Yuvraj Singh) had called me up the night before the Test match and said, 'I'm unwell, you be prepared'. He said 'chances are there that you'll play'. He probably had a stomach bug or a food infection, so he didn't play," Raina said.

"I couldn't sleep the entire night because it was so hot in Sri Lanka. They had some big names in their team and it was going to be my Test debut."

Raina said he was happy that India bowled first because it gave him enough time out on the field to ease his nerves.

"Luckily we lost the toss and we had to field. So I observed the first two days and when my batting came I was ready. If we had batted (first), then probably I would've got a duck like my ODI debut," he said.

Sri Lanka declared their first innings at 642/4, with captain Kumar Sangakkara scoring 219 and Mahela Jayawardene making 174. India, however, gave a more than fitting reply and ended up scoring 707 runs, but the match ended in a draw.

For India Virender Sehwag scored 99, Sachin Tendulkar scored 203 and Raina, who also scored a century in that match, was part of a 256-run stand with Tendulkar.

Despite him getting a dream start to his Test career, Raina could never establish himself in the Test side as he has only managed to play 18 Tests and his 120 on debut remains his highest score and the only century in the longest format.

Raina, who last played a Test in January 2015, downplays the fact that people think T20 cricket is easy and said it's no easy task to switch between white-ball game and the red-ball game overnight.

"People think T20 is easy, but we take so much risk in T20s, play the ball in the air. But that is not the case in ODI and Tests, you have to adjust and have good temperament," he said.

"Switching from white ball to red ball cannot be done overnight. You should take at least a couple of weeks practising leaving the ball; know where your fourth stump is.

"Perhaps I couldn't understand that balance. I did well in West Indies but was dismissed a lot against off-spinners, bouncers troubled me a few times too. So then I got engrossed in too much ODI cricket and didn't get enough chances in Tests," Raina said.

(With Agency inputs)

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Story first published: Sunday, May 31, 2020, 12:57 [IST]
Other articles published on May 31, 2020
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