I was expecting Raina to get selected: Venkatesh

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Uttar Pradesh coach and former India fast bowler Venkatesh Prasad Monday expressed surprise at the exclusion of Suresh Raina from the India Test squad selected for the first two matches against England.

The selection committee led by Sandip Patil dropped Uttar Pradesh skipper Raina from the Indian Test squad announced in Mumbai Monday afternoon.

"I was expecting Raina to get selected. It is unfortunate that he has not been named in the squad. But I don't think he should be disheartened," said Prasad after Uttar Pradesh's victory over Delhi in Ranji Trophy Group B at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here Monday.

"He is a class player. I thought he played brilliantly against a very good Delhi bowling attack and spent a lot of time in the middle which is very important."

"I think it is a bit disappointing for him. But I don't think he will be out of the team for too long. He led the team superbly in this match, took some great catches in the first innings in the slips and played two important knocks which helped his team win," Prasad said.

Commenting on Uttar Pradesh's first round victory over a star-studded Delhi side he said: "We came here to play good cricket and we performed really well. The aim was to win the game so I am very happy with the team. It is a good start to the season.

"We had a challenging opposition in the form of Delhi and we came out in flying colours."

He also praised Mukul Dagar and Imtiaz Ahmed, who were named joint man-of-the-match.

"I think Dagar and Imtiaz performed very well. Dagar scored his maiden first class ton while Imtiaz took his first five wicket haul. The side is responding to changes and we are playing like a team," added the former India bowling coach.

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