We’ve stuck to the process: Raina
Melbourne, Feb 4: The Indians will begin their ODI campaign on a high having ended the two-match T20I series on a winning note. The livewire fielding by the youngsters who outplayed Australia at the MCG gives India an added edge in the tri-series starting Sunday, February 5, 2012 at the same venue.
In the pre-match press conference, Suresh Raina spoke about his batting and the positive energy in the dressing room after the win. Excerpts:
On the ODI series ahead
The morale has lifted [after winning the second T20I]. Every youngster is now looking forward to the one-day series. We have seniors, such as Sachin [Tendulkar] and Zaheer [Khan], who have been here for a month and a half. It will help.
On the side’s fielding
You should expect each and every ball to come your way, only then can you dive right and left and take brilliant catches. That's the key for me. If you are fielding on a big ground, it's a challenge. The last seven or eight years have been good personally. Yesterday was amazing. We fielded very well as a unit. [Ravindra] Jadeja, Virat [Kohli], Rohit [Sharma] and I were sharp in the circle. Then Gauti [Gautam Gambhir] took a brilliant catch in the outfield. If you can do well in the nets, you can do it in the match as well.
On the improvement in fielding
The last couple of months have been good. Trevor Penny [fielding coach] has been doing circle training for us. He cuts catches to us and we have to take catches left and right. He makes us work for 45 minutes a day at least and our technique has been very good. The key, as I said, is to expect ball all the time.
On negotiating the short and rising deliveries
I practiced in Mumbai before coming over with Praveen Amre; I worked on my wrist position to tackle the short ball. It's coming on nicely; I'm looking to bring the pull down. I played a few games and was hitting the ball well. I also had a good six or seven sessions here in Australia. When you are batting at No. 6 or 7, it's not easy. Sometimes you don't get many overs and at other times you are batting with tailenders. I hope whatever I can contribute will be good for the team.
I have been working on [the short ball]. I am playing short stuff good. Once I was out to a short ball in England and the talk started. I did well in England, New Zealand and in the West Indies. I have improved over the years. There are not many wickets in India which prepare you well. But you look to bat on cemented wickets with the wet ball to improve your technique. The seniors such as Sachin [Tendulkar] have been good with their advice. Hopefully it will reflect in the coming one-day series.
On his role in the batting line-up
I have played 136 ODIs for the country and done well. Sometimes those 20-25 runs don't look big but they are vital for the team. If I get a chance up the order, I know I can do well at the No. 3 or 4 position. There are certain players who can't do well in the lower order. Somebody has to take responsibility and I'm always up for it.
On learning from the seniors
I learn from seniors, men like Yuvraj [Singh] and [MS] Dhoni. There are new rules in cricket now, the new Powerplay. I have to play shots and run swiftly. Fortunately there are youngsters who can run swiftly between the wickets with me.
On the team’s poor run overseas
We were not clicking as a unit. If the batting was good, then the bowling wasn't good; if the bowling was good then the fielding was failing us. We fielded well in England but the rain didn't help us while bowling. But when you are losing, you need to keep the process intact. The good thing was the bonding, even in defeats. There was a little frustration but the intensity was up and we kept motivating each other. We kept enjoying every moment. It's a long series and we would look to keep good focus and discipline.
On Sachin Tendulkar coming back to the ODI side
He was here in the last Commonwealth Series as well; he almost hit a back-to-back hundred in the last series. He will bring in new intensity. He is a senior and expects big things from us.
On the significance of winning the second T20I just before the ODIs
If you look at yesterday's game, Praveen [Kumar] is coming back after an injury and yet bowled well. Vinay [Kumar] is good with his variations. When you take early wickets with the new ball, it always helps. Gautam batted with immense responsibility. If there were 30-40 extra runs, we would have chased it down as well. If you look at the bench, we have Zaheer [Khan], Irfan [Khan] and Umesh [Yadav]. They are ready to go. We have a good unit and hopefully we will do well in the ODIs.
On MS Dhoni looking better in ODIs than he did during the Test series
He always accepts challenges on a cricket field. He is looking different because the team is very new, everyone is young, the fielding is good, the intensity is good and there is a positive vibe.