Gunning for a 4-1 finish: Raina
The Indian team is geared up to take the field against England at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium on January 27 in hopes of finishing the series 4-1.
While speaking to the media after training under the morning sun in the nets adjacent to the stadium, Suresh Raina said, “4-1 looks good; so if it would be nice if we win.”
The left-hand batsman had received accolades from MS Dhoni after his match-winning effort in the previous game at Mohali and the skipper had said that they would look to promote him up the order. Speaking about his batting position, Raina said, “Definitely, I would love to bat up the order. When you know that you are going to get 10-15 overs while batting at No.6 or 7, it’s always good to bat up the order. But as long as I am playing for India, winning matches is more important for me than batting up the order. But whenever I get a chance to bat up the order, I will give my 100 percent again.”
“I think it is important that when you are batting at No.5, 6, 7 you finish the game. I have been batting really well in the last 10-15 games; I am hitting the ball really well. One more game to go and then I am looking forward to the Test squad and hopefully I can make it to the team,” he said while talking about his batting.
“I have played well. Against New Zealand, I got a 60; then I didn’t get runs in the last two innings. In the Ranji Trophy, I led UP to four outright wins, scored a hundred and three fifties. I am batting really well, so hopefully I score one more big innings and get into the Test team.”
“I am just looking to play one more game here and then the Corporate Trophy and Test matches [against Australia starting next month],” he added.
The middle-order batsman has also been chipping in with the ball. Asked about the importance of his role as a part-timer, Raina explained, “You definitely have to bowl three-four tight overs [as part-timers]. Rohit Sharma and I have been bowling really well and Virat Kohli has also been bowling well. So whatever two-three overs you are bowling, you have to bowl tight spells and look to contain and not go for runs and we are looking at that.”
“We have always bowled well. Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh] is outstanding with the ball. If you look at the last three-four games, our core bowlers have bowled well. […] Ravindra Jadeja has also put in a good performance and Ravichandran Ashwin has also done well. So overall, the team’s morale is very high, we are 3-1 ahead and if we can make it 4-1, it will be a good base for them with the World Cup coming up,” he added while discussing India’s bowling.
Asked whether Rohit Sharma will open the innings again, Raina said, “It is the decision of the coach and the captain. [...] Rohit played well in the last match when he was given a responsibility and he fulfilled it. Technically he is very sound; so I feel it will be good if he bats.”
While speaking about the HPCA Stadium, Raina said, “First of all I would like to congratulate them for hosting their first international match. Of the five games in the series, three matches are at new venues – first at Rajkot, Ranchi and now here. It is good thing that international grounds are coming up in India. It is a good opportunity for the youngsters. The wicket here is always good for the bowlers and it will be a good contest for the batsmen.”
“I played two games here in IPL and one against Sialkot in first-class cricket when I led UP. This is the most beautiful ground I have played in. The facilities here are unbelievable. It is good, but it is probably going to be very cold in the morning and so like I said toss is going to be very crucial and the one who wins the toss is going to want to bowl first. But we will see, the match is going to start now at 9:30 am. So it is good for the teams,” he observed.