We have to bat more responsibly: Raina
It has been a thrilling contest between India and Australia so far on the tour as both teams have battled hard to pull off wins in tough situations. The batsmen from both sides have dominated, while the bowlers have had a tough time, especially in the third ODI.
1-2 down in the series, Team India once again trained hard and went through their drills ahead of the fourth game of the seven-match match ODI series. India had emerged winners in the only other ODI played at the JSCA International Stadium Complex earlier this year and will be hoping to repeat the feat as they take on the visitors. While speaking to the media, Suresh Raina said that it is important to feel mentally strong and positive. “We have done well in the past here, winning against England. It’s going to be a good contest. Hopefully it’s our day tomorrow,” he said.
The middle-order batsman has been an important cog in the line-up for the team and is working to be successful in his newly allotted No.4 slot as well. Having collected only 56 runs from two innings, while discussing his batting position, Raina explained, “If you see, in the last 150-odd ODIs I have played at No.6. I have had good performances at No.4 in the matches I have played earlier in the last two-three years whenever I have got the opportunity. I have only played two matches now (at No.4 in this series) and it’s too early to say anything. But I am batting well. In the last match I got in a good position but got a top-edge to a short ball. I feel good and positive and hope that in the coming matches, where No.4 is going to be my spot, I can do well.”
He also added that he has learnt a lot from captain MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh about batting. Speaking about the captain’s trademark helicopter shot, he said, “That is a Mahi Bhai exclusive. It’s very difficult to play that shot. You have to pick the length correctly. He has played it for many years. When someone is bowling yorkers at 140-145 kmph and the ball is aimed at the toes, you have to put the entire load on the back and then swing the bat. Other players have their own quality shots, but the helicopter shot suits only him, and it won’t suit others as much. He always clears the ropes with it because he has that kind of strength. All players try to hit low full tosses to midwicket or over the bowler’s head, but you need to practice that shot a lot.”
When asked if Mitchell Johnson, who got the better of the batsman as he ran through the Indian middle-order, has put psychological pressure on them, Raina replied, “I wouldn’t say we are under pressure. We won the first game (T20I) in Rajkot, then they won in Pune, and then we won again in Jaipur and they won after that. It’s a good contest; we are both young teams.”
“Johnson bowled well no doubt, and he had luck on his side. But we have also played a lot of matches and have our plans. The batsmen have to do well in the middle order – Yuvi Paa, Ravindra Jadeja and myself. We will have to take responsibility and bat well. I hope we do well.”
While the batsmen have been doing well and have benefitted from the new rules, most bowlers have been taken for runs in the shorter formats of the game. Speaking about the impact of using two new balls and the new rules, he elaborated, “I think it’s tough for bowlers. When five fielders are inside the circle, and if a regular bowler can’t keep it tight, it will be very difficult for a part-timer. There is pressure on bowlers on what line and length to bowl. They have to be very sure of what their plans are and how they have to bowl to each batsman.”
“It (conceding runs) can happen to any bowler in the last few overs. Ishant (Sharma) has practiced well in the last two days with Joe Dawes. I hope he stays strong in his mind. And if he stays positive, we’ll definitely see a good performance from him. He has worked very hard in the last two days, and this can happen with any cricketer, whether he’s a batsman or a bowler. I hope he will come back strongly against Australia tomorrow,” he mentioned.
“The ball doesn’t reverse much because it’s quite new. The ball is only 25 overs old, at most. Even spinners don’t get that much turn. But whatever it is, we have to adjust to how things are. We can’t give excuses – we just have to bat well and bowl well,” he said while agreeing that it has been good for the batsman.
Given the high-scoring games and bowling being a topic of intense discussion, Raina said, “If you see the positives, our bowlers are also bowling well. In Jaipur we chased down 350-plus, a huge total, against the bowling. They made only 300 against our bowling in Mohali. If we had got one more wicket, it would have been a different ball game in Mohali.”
“Our think tank is very strong and we have good plans and preparations in place. The bowlers have trained hard; they’ve bowled well in the nets. I hope the harder we work and more positive we feel, we’ll get good results in the match.”
Few press conferences have ended without touching upon Sachin Tendulkar’s impending retirement and Tuesday’s presser was no exception. Expressing his sentiment on the topic, Raina said, “Personally I feel the next four one-dayers are very important for me because I want to get into the Test team. Whether I play or not, his 200th Test match will be my dream match. He has played with so many players, and he’s the world’s No.1 player. The best thing about him is that he’s a good human being. When he goes, it will definitely be a sad moment for all players. Even for all of you; you’ve seen him for so many years on the field and off the field. It will be a sad moment. It’s an important time for him and his family and his game. I hope he makes hundreds in his 199th and 200th Tests, and people get to enjoy his batting.”