New Delhi: Middle-order batsman Suresh Raina, who played a pivotal role in India’s 3-0 clean-sweep over Australia in the recent three-match T20 series, feels the triumph has given the side an ” extra edge” going into next month’s World Twenty20 Championships.
Australia fielded a second string side against India with top players like Steve Smith, David Warner and James Faulkner playing only one of the three matches. Raina said irrespective of the strength of the opposition, India came out stronger from the series.
“Whichever opposition you play, it was important for us to beat Australia on their home turf. Also since we beat them 2-0, we are now the No.1 ranked T20 team in the world. The win was a testimony that we prepared well. We will have an extra edge going into the World T20. Credit should be given to the captain and the support staff,” Raina told mediapersons at the unveiling of the Rajkot IPL team ‘Gujarat Lions’.
His match-winning unbeaten 49 in the third T20 International came while batting at No 4 while he has mostly placed at No.3 for Chennai Super Kings during the eight seasons of the Indian Premier League.
“Batting up the order in T20 is important as it helps you plan and execute your targets. I have played at No.3 for CSK but the team is almost set for the World T20s,” the UP left-hander stated.
Raina believes that presence of him, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the middle-order at No 5,6 and 7 gives the team required solidity to be able to play “fearless cricket”.
“During the third ball of the last over, Yuvraj told me whatever happens, we have to run a single. Before that, he had already taken the pressure off with a four and a six. After I ran a two, he said he believed I could finish the match. So with me, Yuvraj and Dhoni in the middle-order, we have the required experience.”
He also praised the likes of Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah who impressed during the T20 series. “It is not easy for youngsters to tour Australia in their first series. The youngsters showed required toughness and mental character and they should be lauded for their performance,” said Raina, who is one short of completing 50 T20 Internationals for the country.