I need to bat till the end: Raina
Chennai, Sep 11: India lost the second T20I to New Zealand by just one run in a thrilling finish. However, the hosts have had a good run in the season so far and are looking forward to the ICC World T20. They still have two practice matches ahead of the tournament and are hoping to kick start their campaign on a winning note. Suresh Raina, who usually bats in the lower middle order, came in at No.3 today and chipped in 27 runs. The southpaw is an important part of the Indian line-up, and will be a key figure in India going the distance in Sri Lanka.
Although they lost today, the batsman believes that India have an experienced line-up and will do well in the forthcoming tournament. While speaking to bcci.tv after the match, Raina discussed his batting and role in the team.
On today’s game
It was a good feeling. I would specially like to congratulate Yuvraj. He is an amazing person and the way he showed responsibility, dedication and discipline about his rehabilitation was impressive. I have been injured and I have had a knee operation, so I know the feeling in the mind when you are playing after an injury or illness when he was batting. He showed that you can come out of any kind of illness and showed the world that it can be done. He has recovered really well and I am really happy for his comeback.
On what the pitch was like when he was batting
The pitch was slow [but] no excuses; no complaints. But I think we didn’t bat well in between. And they bowled really well. Credit goes to the New Zealand bowlers. They had a long tour here and they knew how the wicket was going to be in Chennai since most of the players have been playing in the IPL. This victory is going to give them a good platform going into the World Cup [ICC World T20].
Our bowlers also bowled really well, Irfan [Pathan], Zak [Zaheer Khan] and L Balaji bowled really well. This is a good game for us before the World Cup matches. We still have two more games [practice matches in Sri Lanka] to go. The boys are looking good at the moment.
On whether the recent win in Sri Lanka gives India a boost going into the ICC World T20
Definitely. We play a lot of matches in Sri Lanka and we know what sort of wickets they have and what sort of planning they have when it comes to the Sri Lankan team. I would say that in this World Cup, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka have a very good chance to play in the semi-finals. But, in Twenty20 cricket you can’t expect anything. This game can change in two overs, one brilliant catch or one brilliant run-out [can turn the match around]. Everyone has to play a really tight game and everyone has to be ready in their role. This game can turn very quickly.
On his knack of coming up with cameos and important knocks in tight situations
God has been kind. But when you bat at No.6 and No.7, it is really difficult to score runs in every game. I am the kind of player who loves to play my natural game. [Virender] Sehwag always told me, no matter what the situation is look to be positive all the time. I have learnt a lot from Dhoni, he has been amazing, and then also from Yuvraj Singh. My game is attacking. I know my game. Now I have been batting really well. I have won matches for Team India. But now I need to do well in the World Cup as well. I am going to bat at fourth or fifth [position], maybe before Yuvraj or after Yuvraj and my role will be very crucial. I am a left-hand batsman and I can play my shots from the start. It is very important for me to stay there till the end so that I can win lot of matches for Team India.
On how he focuses and stays calm in crucial situations
It has been tough. I started from World Cup 2011. I played six-seven games and I knew I was going to get my chance in a crucial game. So when I got my chance against Australia, I knew I have to do well in this game because the situation was difficult. But God has been kind and I have delivered in crunch situations. I played really well against Pakistan also. The game taught me how to stay calm and composed in an innings and I learnt how to bat with tailenders. When you are batting with MS [Dhoni], you can play your shots, you can get going. But when you know that you don’t have an MS and you have to bat with Irfan, Ashwin, Zak [Zaheer Khan] and maybe [Ashok] Dinda or Munaf [Patel], whoever is there, it is different. My role is crucial and I have to play positively. Since the last few years we don’t have really good lower middle order batsmen except Yuvraj and Dhoni. Now I am grooming myself and I do hope that I will do well too.
On coping with expectations after winning the World Cup last year
Expectations are always there whenever Indian team plays, whether it is the 50-overWorld Cup or T20. Everyone wants us to win. But in Twenty20 games anything can happen. But we are the team in world cricket who play a lot of Twenty20 cricket and we have the experience and the players can execute their plans. We have an experienced bowling attack like Ashiwn who has been amazing over the last two years; we have Piyush Chawala and Harbajan Singh. And Balaji is back; he was part of the IPL-winning team. Then there is Gautam Gambhir, Virat and also Rohit Sharma. I have been enjoying this. I would say we have lot of good talent in the dressing room. It is important to stay calm and enjoy each and every game; then you can do well in the World Cup.