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 and 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 Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah.
Raina to lead Gujarat Lions
New Delhi : Suresh Raina was on Tuesday named the captain of the new Indian Premier League (IPL) outfit Gujarat Lions that will play in the ninth edition of the Twenty20 cricket tournament this summer. Former Australia batsman Brad Hodge has been named coach of the Rajkot-based outfit which also has former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner and West Indian Dwayne Bravo. Arvinder Singh will be the chief executive officer of the team which is owned by Keshav Bansal, director of Intex Technologies. “I am honoured to have been chosen for this role. We already have some of the best cricketing talent in the team and I look forward to the challenges, the opportunity, the excitement, the energy and will lead from the front to ensure we have a great debut,” said Raina, who played for Chennai Super Kings in the past before the outfit was suspended for two years.