Jatin ∙ Mar 19 2023, 8:15 AM

Suresh Raina Bats For LSG Mainstay's Inclusion In Indian ODI World Cup Squad

image-lff0yde3Deepak Hooda has played 10 ODIs and 21 T20Is (Twitter)

Former Indian cricketer Suresh Raina has espoused the inclusion of all-rounder Deepak Hooda in the playing XI for the forthcoming ODI World Cup. According to the former batter, Hooda's prodigious talents with both bat and ball can serve as a crucial asset to captain Rohit Sharma's team, potentially alleviating the burden on the bowling unit.

Raina reminisced about the days of Indian cricketing legends Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan and himself, citing the success of batting all-rounders who were able to chip in with crucial overs to ease the pressure on the bowling attack. 

In his estimation, Hooda is an exceptional all-rounder with the requisite skills to thrive in the white-ball format of the game. The former CSK star opined that the Baroda-based all-rounder could be the floater batter, capable of replicating his T20 form in ODIs and performing well as an off-spinner. 

"I remember how Viru pa, Yuvi pa, and Sachin paaji used to bowl. Yusuf and I as well. Whenever a left-hander used to come to the crease, Mahi Bhai would call me. I think Deepak Hooda could bring that factor; he can be the floater batter. He's a terrific fielder, a good offie, and can replicate his T20 form in ODIs," Raina told Sports Tak.

Raina also emphasised the importance of a player who can deliver 4-5 overs, thus facilitating a more balanced team. 

The erstwhile cricketer expounded on the value of a spin-bowling all-rounder, stating that the World Cup pitches are likely to be spin-friendly, with conditions that might favour Axar Patel, Ravindra Jadeja, and Hooda. 

He also lauded the abilities of these players and stressed the significance of Hardik Pandya's pace and variation.

“Axar, Jadeja, and Hooda will be important, and so will Hardik Pandya with his pace and variation,” added the southpaw.

Meanwhile, Hooda didn't find a place in India's ODI squad for the ongoing home series against Australia. The swashbuckling batter will represent Lucknow Super Giants in the IPL 2023 starting March 31.