Raina: Seniors deserved a break

Suresh Raina will lead Indian team in the ODI series and lone Twenty20 match in absence of senior players Getty Images

Port of Spain (Trinidad): Jun 3, 2011

India’s stand-in cricket captain Suresh Raina has backed the decision of top players such as Sachin Tendulkar to skip the tour of the West Indies, saying the seniors “deserved a break”.

India wears a depleted look in the West Indies with Tendulkar and regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni opting out and Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh ruled out due to injuries and illness.

Raina, who will lead the side in Saturday’s one-off Twenty20 and the five-match ODI series after that, said he is looking forward to the challenge of steering a young and inexperienced side.

“(Being captain) is a great challenge to me and I’m really looking forward to that,” Raina said after the team’s arrival here.

“We have good players who want to do well in this series. They have done well in first-class cricket and the IPL or in the World Cup team.”

Raina said the senior players “deserved a break” and it was chance for the youngsters to make a name for themselves. “We have a young team here and they are focused on doing well for India and I am excited to see how they perform over the next few weeks,” he was quoted as saying in ESPNcricinfo.

West Indies have been struggling for quite a while, the most recent of their debacles coming against Pakistan. Darren Sammy’s men were handed a 2-3 ODI series loss Pakistan but Raina refused to take them lightly.

“The West Indies team has been playing good cricket for the past few months and we are not going to take them lightly,” he said.