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Saturday, February 4, 2012

We can turn things around, says Raina

Suresh Raina can be a game-changer in the shorter formats of cricket. He brings with him inventiveness and dynamism.
The left-hander believes the Indians would put up a good fight in the ODI triangular series beginning at the MCG here on Sunday. The side’s morale, he says, has been lifted by the victory in the second twenty20 international.

The side, Raina said, is a good blend of experience and youth. “We have seniors, such as Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan, and then we have the younger bunch. It’s a well balanced side. The bonding in the team has been good even during the defeats. We have been adhering to the process. We can turn things around.”
The fact that India fielded brilliantly in the twenty20 game here on Friday – it was the highlight of the side’s victory – pleased Raina immensely. He said, “Anticipation is the key. Only then you can dive to catch or stop balls. Fielding in the big ground here is a challenge in itself.”
Raina added, “We jelled as a unit on the field in the last game. Jadeja, Virat, Rohit and me were sharp in the cricle. To top it all, Gautam (Gambhir) came up with a terrific catch in the outfield. We now have new rules in ODI cricket but, importantly, have men who can run swiftly between wickets as well.”
He acknowledged the work put in by fielding coach Trevor Penny. “He makes us work for nearly an hour every day and this has improved our technique and the manner we take on every ball on the field.”
Raina also revealed he had been practicing his technique against the lifting deliveries from the quicks. “I honed my skill with Praveen Amre in Mumbai before coming over here. I worked on my wrist position to tackle the short ball. It's coming on nicely, I'm looking to keep the ball down while executing the pull stroke.”
He elaborated on the topic. ““I have been working on playing the short stuff . 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 I have batted on cemented wickets with a wet ball to improve my technique. Seniors, such as Sachin (Tendulkar), have been forthcoming with their inputs. Hopefully, it (the improvement) would show in the tri-series.”
Raina dwelt on Tendulkar’s inspirational qualities and his role in India’s ODI tri-series triumph here in 2007 where the maestro notched up a defining century in the first final in Sydney.
On skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Raina said, “He is always ready for a challenge. There is a lot of intensity in his cricket.”

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