Melbourne: Confident after notching up a century ahead of the knock-outs, India's middle-order mainstay Suresh Raina believes that he has become "more matured" as a batsman in the past four years as he batted in different situations since the team won the cricket World Cup in 2011.
Raina has had a good World Cup so far, having scored an unbeaten 110 in the last game against Zimbabwe and a quickfire half-century against Pakistan in the opening match of the mega event.
Suresh Raina. Pic/ PTI
"I have improved as a player (from 2011 onwards) having learnt a lot from players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif. I have played a lot of matches with them, coming in at different slots like No 4, 5 or 6. I know what sort of batting is needed for ODIs. So I think I've become more mature after 2011," Raina told mediapersons on the eve of India's quarter-final against Bangladesh at the MCG.
The Indian batting has ticked all the boxes in the tournament so far and the Uttar Pradesh left-hander is happy that he got going against Zimbabwe. "I think I'm glad it happened against Zimbabwe and got enough to settle myself. When the team needed me the most and when you deliver it's the best feeling. At the same time, I got lucky. I was batting with MS and he told me "you just need to be focused with what you're doing the last few years. You need to be calm for yourself. Whenever you get the ball, you need to play your strokes"."
Raina said that he thrives in pressure situations and would not mind if the same need arises against Bangladesh. "I really love all those pressure situations, I have done that in the past, but that game I got plenty of overs to chase those target, so I was very happy to win that game for my team. So I think now we have done all the homework in the batting department. Whether we're chasing, whether we're defending, we all need to go and express ourselves. I think we're all looking forward to that."
Raina was a part of the victorious 2011 squad but got to play only in the quarters, semis and final. But he is enjoying the journey in this edition as he is playing a bigger role and the team is also doing well on all fronts.
"I didn't get much time to play in 2011. But I did play in all the crucial games from quarterfinal onwards. It has been a long journey, but as a team I think we have done really well in all departments. If you look at the last six games we took 60 wickets. And medium pace of fast bowlers have been a lot of disciplined work. I believe in tournaments like World Cup, self belief is the key and you can win in any situation."
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