Raina: “Three Players Compete For Two Places In The Team”

Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina

It has been a roller-coaster ride for Suresh Raina during his six years in international cricket, but if he gets a chance in the playing XI, the talented batsman wants to get his mojo back after an indifferent last few months with the willow. Going by indications, Raina probably will find it difficult to make the cut in the playing XI, except for injuries to any regular batsman.

After Virat Kohli and Yusuf Pathan almost cemented their places in the XI with impressive performances in the five-match One-Day series in South Africa, it will be tough decision for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to accommodate the talented UP southpaw.

“It is good that we have a healthy competition in the team between me, Virat (Kohli) and Yusuf (Pathan) but whenever I am on the field, my main focus always is to win matches and contribute for the team,” Raina said during an open media session here.

“I generally bat at No 6 and No 7 and whenever you bat at these positions you have to play big shots. I am scoring 25-30 but I know I can do more. I know I can deliver. I am looking forward to score big runs (in the World Cup).”

Raina who has been found out susceptible against the short pitched stuff dismissed the popular notion that the South African quicks sorted him out with rising deliveries.

“In South Africa, I was not getting out on short balls. I was getting runs but not big scores. I am working on the game, trying to focus on my batting and do the basics right,” Raina defended himself.

With the World Cup being held in the sub-continent, there is huge pressure on Dhoni and his men to lift the trophy after a hiatus of 28 years, but Raina said the only thing which is presently in his mind is his own performance.

“Playing any series in India is always pressure but I don’t think there is additional pressure on me. As a player, it is important to ignore pressure and concentrate on your job in hand.”

He didn’t hide that playing the World Cup will be a huge opportunity. “It is a big opportunity for me. It is a dream for any cricketer to play in the World Cup,” he said.

Asked about his role in the team as a part-time spinner, “As a bowler, I am required to chip in with couple of overs and if possible get a few wickets” he said.

The cash-rich Indian Premier League brought about a lot of instant fame, money and adulation for the young Indian cricketers and Raina said it is important to remain grounded and emulate the likes of Sachin Tendular and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who handled these things with humility.

“It is important to remain pretty humble, stay focused and learn from Sachin (Tendulkar) and (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni . It is important to be disciplined and pay respect to the seniors and the game,” he said. Even though he was not part of the 2007 World Cup team, Raina feels that the they have learnt a lot from that disastrous experience.

“We learnt a lot from that World Cup. We have learnt that we can’t take small teams lightly. We are playing our first game against Bangladesh and it is important for us to get the intensity going.”

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Gautham S.

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Hi Folks! This is Gautham from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. I'm 20 and doing my final year in Mechanical Engineering at Thiagarajar College of Engineering. I'm a self confessed Cricket lover and I have a great fervor towards writing about the game. In the generations I've come across, I've loved watching Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid bat. Besides writing, I have great interest in singing and I'm a great fan of Hariharan and A.R.Rahman sir. I would like to be remembered as one of the greatest sports journalists who changed the way their profession is perceived. I set myself performance goals and believe in giving a hundred percent in whatever I do. I thank God for giving me an opportunity to work with sports mirror so early in my career. I also thank my friends who made me believe in what I do and gave honest comments about my writing. God is great :)

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