Suresh Raina scored a fluent 51 in the second ODI against Australia © Getty Images
Suresh Raina scored a fluent 51 in the second ODI against Australia © Getty Images

Jan 19, 2015

All-rounder Suresh Raina said on Monday that former India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar helped him overcome the shortcomings against short pitch bowling. Raina said that the failure in the fourth and final Test in Australia, wherein he got a pair, was a major setback.

Raina came back to the Indian Test cricket team and failed to score a run in both the innings as India fought really hard to force a draw. Raina bounced back after the disappointment to score 51 in India’s opening One-Day International (ODI) against Australia at Melbourne.

Raina told the official website of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), “It was very important. In Sydney I played my first Test after more than two years and didn’t score a run. That hit me real bad. Everyone in the team tried to cheer me up saying ‘it’s okay, it was hard luck’. But I was really disappointed. I was just stunned. It felt like a bad dream.”

“I had worked so hard for this opportunity and earned it after so long. It happened to me in England in 2011 — I got a pair in the Oval Test and then did well in the ODIs. So, I had been in that situation before. But this time it was tougher because of how long I had waited for this chance. What helped me get over it was that we drew the Test. Had we lost it, it would have been devastating for me.”

He added, “I learned a lot in the next two days after that Test, gathered myself and practised really hard with the white ball. It was a new format and the one I have done well in. I put the Test behind me and started to focus on the ODIs. I am glad I could score a few runs right away.”

The left-handed batsman revealed that he had worked really hard on his technique with Sachin Tendulkar and Pravin Amre.

He said, “People have been talking about the short ball for years now. But I have come a long way. I worked hard with Sachin paaji at the BKC and with [Pravin] Amre sir as well. I believe I have improved a lot in that regards and it shows in the way I have been playing the bouncer for quite a while now.”

Raina added 126 runs for the fourth wicket with Rohit Sharma, who scored his sixth century in One-Day Internationals (ODIs), but India lost their opening tie in the ongoing triangular series to Australia by four wickets.

Talking about the partnership, Raina said, “When I went in to bat today I had many overs and all I thought of was to get a good partnership going with Rohit. We did that and the momentum was good but we couldn’t get too many runs after that. Rohit batted really well. When someone scores an outstanding hundred like that and you get a big partnership going, the team gets a platform to build on. We need to learn how to take advantage of that. We will have to win such matches because in the latter stages of the World Cup we will be faced with such situations more often. The boys are getting used to it and I am sure they will improve.”

The Indian all-rounder admitted that bowling is a concern for the team and this is where the problems lie ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. He said, “I feel that we can improve our bowling. Today we scored close to 270. In the World Cup we might have to defend 240-odd runs and for that our bowling needs to be much better. We didn’t have Ishant today and that made a lot of difference. His presence will be a big boost in the coming matches. Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar] bowled really well today, especially in the death.”

Talking about the team in general, Raina said, “We have played very competitive cricket in the last two months and that has made the boys very tough. They are all very hungry to perform and win. We have done very well in the ICC tournaments in the last four years and that gives the boys a lot of confidence. We are hungry. Every individual in the team is.”