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MS Dhoni: Suresh Raina must give himself more time

Skipper Dhoni backs southpaw to come good in the upcoming ODIs; says the struggling batsman need to play a few deliveries before going for the big shots

Rajkot: Struggling for runs in the ongoing ODI series against South Africa, under-fire Suresh Raina has got the much-needed backing of skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who advised the middle-order batsman to give himself a bit more time before unleashing his big shots.

Also Read: We are still looking for batsmen at positions 5, 6 and 7: MS Dhoni

Suresh Raina walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed for a duck during the second ODI against South Africa at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore last week. Pic/PTI
Suresh Raina walks back to the pavilion after being dismissed for a duck during the second ODI against South Africa at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore last week. Pic/PTI

"More than the form he needs to give himself a bit more time. He's gone in and played the big shots. Whenever you go in you actually have more time than what you think. It's important for him to play a few deliveries," said Dhoni at the post-match press conference after India lost the third ODI by 18 runs here on Sunday. "It's not easy to straightaway play the big shots.

He needs to give himself a bit more time as it becomes difficult to find people who can clear the big outfield. My personal feeling is he needs to give himself a bit more time and everything will be fine," said the captain.

The Uttar Pradesh left-hander was dismissed for ducks in the last two games after scoring three in the series opener at Kanpur. He did not have a great time in the preceding T20 series as well against the visitors.

Talking about Sunday's game that India lost by 18 runs after failing to chase South Africa's 270 on a slow pitch, Dhoni said the wicket became increasingly slower as the game and made life difficult for the batsmen.

"In the first half, the wicket played differently and as the game progressed, it became more and more difficult. If the wicket had not changed, 270 was a very good effort by our bowlers.

But it became slower and we were not able to play the big shots. I hope you have heard what I said (in the din) yeh bandh nahi hoga, aag laga ke chod diya (This won't stop, a fire has been lit and left alone)," he said jokingly about the din created by the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) officials.

"I thought it was a very good effort by the bowlers. I thought it was a good wicket to bat on, the spinners did not get much assistance but they bowled well. The fast bowlers used the extra fielder in the end quite nicely. If the wicket had not got slower, 270 was a par score," he explained.

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Suresh Raina's average in the first three ODIs against South Africa

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