In water, it is hard to get away from crocodile assault but ones crocodile comes out of water, the story is different.
Without IPL, Suresh Raina would have even lost his central contract from BCCI by now. But the advent of IPL helped him to revive his career and establish himself as a demon to the opponents mainly in shorter version. A shot over mid-wicket which yields him plenty of runs is developed when he was playing for IPL. Also he became lot better in fielding because of playing lot of high intensity matches in IPL. You could even say, Raina is a by-product of Indian Premier League.
In T20, I don’t think there are many better overall players than Raina. He is destructive in batting, cheeky in bowling and livewire in fielding. What more you want from a player than this in shorter format? You could sense the fear in bowlers when he was batting towards the end of innings in T20 or ODI. He can hit any bowlers out of park irrespective of the conditions. He is such a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal but sadly no weapons come without limitation and Raina too have his limitation.
Even though he is yet to produce an innings like a century after coming to bat within 20 overs that can stock his place in ODI team without any doubts but he has done more than anyone to claim the finisher spot in Indian team. Raina is at his best when he is attacking the opponent not when defending in any format of the game. We saw in last ODI against England, he was struggling even to rotate the singles easily until the overs ticked to 32nd over in which he broke free by attacking the bowlers with back to back boundaries. He had even hit the bouncers well in the ODI series so far because most time it was predicted rightly with field settings by English team. When square leg goes to deep along with fine leg in place then surely a bouncer is coming on your way most times than not. Also with only 2 bouncers allowed per over, it does aide the batsmens like Raina lot in shorter formats.
In longer format, you can’t keep on attacking the opponent even though you are best in it because opponents will attack in your limitation. They don’t mind being hit for 4 sixes because sooner or later one mishit is coming on the way for them to knock you out. Average of Suresh Raina is almost similar (around 35) in both ODI and Test matches but the difference is, In test matches 30 or 40 quick runs from designated batsmen doesn’t going to either worry the bowling team or help the batting team.
To put it straight, Raina’s bat is all over the ball in shorter format but in longer format, it’s the ball which is all over him and his bat. Level of confidence in longer and shorter format is like sine graph for Raina. It is very hard for him now to improve in test matches because once you are getting enormous success in another formats than even if you try, it’s not going to be easy fixing both your mind and technique for a format in which you failing. You can say Sehwag succeeded in both formats than why not Raina? But Sehwag is class apart when it comes to technique with phenomenal hand-eye coordination that Raina can only dream to have.
Raina is an asset in shorter format for India where he should be fully utilized rather than quarreling about his performance in test matches where he doesn’t qualify to play at all.