Written by Chandresh Narayanan | March 19, 2015 10:48 pm
Is it any wonder that since Raina was drafted into the side against West Indies in the 2011 World Cup, India has been on a winning run?
Raina made an instant impact against Australia in the quarter-final and then against Pakistan in the semi-final, he held the innings together at a crucial time. In this tournament too, Raina has played the enforcer act quite often.
In seven matches during this tournament, Raina has struck two half-centuries and a hundred. His knock of 110 not out against Zimbabwe at a critical time in the chase was well regarded by everyone, but it was his innings against Pakistan which actually set the tone for the tournament.
Raina struck 74 off just 56 balls to raise the tempo of the Indian innings against Pakistan. From thereon, India has not looked back.
His effort against Bangladesh on Friday was something similar because he was required to yet again change the momentum in the game. He forced Bangladesh to commit errors galore and from there the floodgates were thrown open. Raina showed how he has gained so much from playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“You need to be calm for yourself. Whenever you get the ball, you need to play your strokes. I really love all those pressure situations,” is how Raina described his approach to tough situations like the one on Thursday.
Raina’s batting position has also been a matter of debate. The Indian think-tank has used him as a floater in the line-up, letting him move up and down depending on the situation of the match. Against Pakistan, Raina was promoted to number four position. That was a masterstroke because the right-hand and left-hand combination of Virat Kohli-Raina worked wonders.
Raina thereafter has been batting at number five slot so that he alongwith skipper MS Dhoni is able to control the end overs.
“I think it depends on coach and captain..what they’re asking me to do. At the same time batting at number four, I need to just see before the batting powerplay that I spend more time on the wicket so that I can play my strokes later on,” said Raina.
It is this approach of Raina has helped India move up a gear in the limited-overs format in the last couple of years.
For Raina, however, only one thing matters. “At the end the day, if Team India wins that’s what important more than your position of four, five or six. You need to give your best shot whether you’re playing four, five or six,” added Raina.
Chandresh Narayanan is a senior cricket writer having served in different roles across all mediums. He has ser...read more