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By Kushan Sarkar
Mirpur: Mar 22, 2014
India’s Suresh Raina says that most of the top-order West Indies batsmen prefer playing big shots rather than rotating strike against spinners, an area which he feels can be exploited by Amit Mishra and co when the two teams square off in the ICC World T20 2014.
Asked about the threat the explosive opening pair of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith could pose, Raina said, “West Indies will be a totally different team as they have a lot of players who can hit sixes but they don’t have an idea about how to rotate the strike against spinners by taking singles and twos.
“Therefore, the more pressure we put on the bigger players, better it will be for us.”
The in-form left hander said that Amit Mishra’s bowling will again be key while countering the likes of Gayle, Smith and Samuels.
“We have Mishra, who has done well in the last match.
Ashwin has also bowled well and Jadeja is doing well too. But T20 is dependent on who is better on that particular day.
“Also depends on what you intend to do after winning the toss. Spinners will be key in this contest. Especially in the manner, we bowled against Pakistan, which plays spin really well.”
Elaborating on the role of tweakers, Raina said that overs seven to 11 will be key against the slower bowlers.
“About facing spinners, it’s not that there is great turn (on this track) but some turn available. While shaping up for a shot, you need to come under the ball.
“Your thought-process should be clear. If you think you want to hit it then you should go ahead and if you decide against it then be it. Between 7 to 11 overs, is the time when you need to rotate the strike well. If you get even one loose ball, if you can convert it into fours and sixes, then it’s good.”
For shorter formats, Raina wants that batsmen should try to achieve smaller targets.
“Definitely, Pakistan had Saeed Ajmal, West Indies has Sunil Narine.
In these shorter formats, you have to plan for two overs. You need to decide whom to attack and whom to defend. We have good middle-order. We have Dhoni, Yuvraj and then Jadeja and Ashwin. So if we get a good start, we have batsmen down the order.”
Making a comeback into the side after being dropped from the Asia Cup squad due to repeated failures in One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Raina has been in good form of late with scores of 41, 52 and 35 not out.
Asked what he did during the ‘forced break’, Raina said, “I did what I had done earlier. I analyzed my game and what can be done in upcoming games. I worked really hard at nets with my coach. I also played a few matches in domestic tournament (Vijay Hazare Trophy).”
Raina said he enjoyed playing the role of a finisher and he would try to win as many games as possible for India.
“My game is such that irrespective of the format, my aim is to win as many matches as possible for India. Touchwood, God has been really kind as the last 2-3 matches have really gone well,” Raina said.
“But the tournament has just started and a lot of big matches are still left. We would like to play with the same kind of momentum, it will be good for us.”
Momentum is the key in a big event like World T20 and most of Raina’s answers had this one word in common — momentum.
“I think it was a very good win against Pakistan for us.
When you are playing in a World Cup and you win the first game against Pakistan, it sets the momentum. There are still three more games to go. We need to do really well against West Indies and Australia,” Raina said.
Sticking to the gameplan will be key for India against the big names of West Indies like Gayle, Smith and Bravo and Raina said there’s no need to change their basic approach.
“We don’t need to change our approach. We will go out there and play positive cricket. We have done well in the last couple of matches. We need to control our gameplan and also control our emotions when we face Gayle, Smith and Bravo. We have to go out there and play our best cricket,” he stated.
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