ICC World Cup: 'Special' Suresh Raina out to thrive against B'desh

Mar 19, 2015, 08:30 IST | Ashwin Ferro

When I go back to the dressing room, I want to feel that I've done something special for the team, says Raina ahead of quarter-final clash against Bangladesh

Melbourne: Suresh Raina has been a vital cog in the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian team's wheel of fortune at this World Cup. He has performed in different capacities. First, as an aggressive batsman, who when promoted to No 4 against Pakistan, scored a 56-ball 74.

Also Read: Suresh Raina to tie the knot with childhood friend Priyanka on April 3

Suresh Raina in full flight against Zimbabwe at Eden Park in Auckland last Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Suresh Raina in full flight against Zimbabwe at Eden Park in Auckland last Saturday. Pic/Getty Images 

In the next match against South Africa, he was used as a part-time bowler and handed just one over (three runs). Then, against Ireland, Dhoni gave him the full quota of 10 overs and he finished with a respectable economy rate of four per over. In India's last match against Zimbabwe, Raina aped skipper Dhoni at the other end and played the sheet-anchor role, notching up his maiden World Cup century (110 not out) in the bargain.

All this while continuing to be a livewire in the field too, running up to every member who's made a fine stop and backing up the 'keeper and bowler consistently when throws are hurled in.

Revels in multiple roles
Yesterday, on the eve of India's quarter-final against Bangladesh, the Uttar Pradesh southpaw said he revels in his multiple roles. "It all depends on the coach and captain… what they ask me to do. In our meetings before the main games, we sort out things like the bowling attack (of the opponent), what sort of batting has to be done with the tail-enders among other things.

For me, batting at No 4, I need to get my eye in before the batting Powerplay and spend more time at the wicket, so I can play my strokes later. So, whatever the team needs me to do, I prepare myself (accordingly). You need to give it your best shot whether you are batting at four, five or six," Raina said yesterday.

The batting all-rounder also spoke of his love for fielding. "From the very first ball, you expect every ball to come to you. You want to do something different because sometimes I get to bat late in the 40th over or sometimes after the 40th over.

When I go back to the dressing room, I want to feel that I've done something special for the team. Whether it's taking a diving catch or taking the bowler's sweater and handing it to the umpire — that gives him 10 seconds of relief. These are little things, but they are important to a bowler. He gets his breath back. Ajju (Ajinkya Rahane) and myself do this quite a bit. It's a very enjoyable experience to encourage each other and celebrate together," added the 28-year-old.

'A big day'
About the need to play long innings, Raina said he had learnt a lesson the hard way. "If you look at the statistics, when I was dropped from the Asia Cup side, I was making scores of 35, 40 every time but in the 15-20 innings then, I didn't have a 50. That's why I was dropped. So I realised that I need to spend more time," said Raina, who went on to refer to today's quarter-final against Bangladesh as a 'big day.'

"Today, when we were practising, there was a sense of calm. Everyone looked focused in the nets. We were discussing among ourselves that there was so much quietness. Everyone was concentrating on what he had to do. With the two new balls, Rohit (Sharma) and Shikhar (Dhawan) have given us a good platform. Virat (Kohli) has finished well and Ajju's looking good too. Tomorrow is a big day and we can't take any team lightly. One mistake and you can lose. But the important thing is that we know what to do when we wake up in the morning."

Captains' wishlist

MS Dhoni India
> Rohit Sharma finds form
> Bangladeshi spinners are tackled well
> Mahmudullah is dismissed early

Mashrafe Mortaza Bangladesh
> Pacers take early wickets
> Spinners stifle run flow in middle overs
> Indian middle order plays below par

Did you know?
Bangladesh have never lost to India in the month of March. Bangladesh shocked Rahul Dravid-led Team India by five wickets in 2007 World Cup on March 17. Five years later, they again beat India in Asia Cup on March 16, 2012. 

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