India v West Indies, World T20, Group 2, Dhaka

T20 batting clarity works for Raina

Abhishek Purohit in Dhaka

March 22, 2014

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A
West Indies big-hitters pose challenge - Raina

He may have lost his place in the one-day unit, but India needed Suresh Raina's swipes in the shortest format. And immediately in his first match for the country after being dropped midway through the New Zealand tour, Raina showed his importance in T20s, making an unbeaten 35 that delivered India another win over Pakistan in a world tournament.

Not only was this innings important personally for Raina, it was also crucial for India to have a key middle-order batsman do well. Coming as it did right in the opening match, Raina's performance augurs well for India's prospects for the rest of the tournament.

Both Yuvraj Singh and Raina had not been able to click in recent times in one-dayers, and in a tournament format where almost every game is crucial, it would have been heartening for the team management to see Raina deliver, especially after Yuvraj lasted only two balls. This is the format in which Raina can cause maximum impact. He does not have to hang around for too long, the swipe over midwicket is always a productive scoring option. Raina is also equally adept at both working the spinners around and attacking them, something teams will have to do with slow bowlers already showing how big a role they will play in Bangladesh. After getting past Saeed Ajmal and co, India will have to deal with Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree next.

Raina spoke about his approach to batting in T20s, saying that while one had to be selective in terms of attacking, it was also crucial to completely back what you had decided to do against the spinners. "In T20 my game is different because I know I only have 10-12 overs," Raina said. "They [Pakistan] had in Ajmal a bowler who can take wickets. [You have to] look to attack other bowlers rather than just attack Ajmal. You have to change your gameplan very quickly in T20 [as to] who you have to attack.

"In short format you have to plan according to every two overs who and who not to attack. If you have wickets in hand you can accelerate. We have good power [in the batting line-up]. [MS] Dhoni, Yuvi, and then [Ravindra] Jadeja and Ashwin. If you get a good start it is good for the batsmen down the order.

"The ball is turning for the spinners, so to shape up for the shot you have to get underneath the ball a bit. Your thoughts have to be clear whether you have to hit the ball or not. From overs seven-eleven you also have to rotate the strike well. Even if you get one loose ball, if you can convert it into a four or a six, that is a good gameplan."

Probably no Raina press conference is complete without the short ball being mentioned. Raina had recently taken tips on dealing with the delivery from former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who he said was a "sweet person" to talk to. Pakistan tried it against him, like all other sides, but on a slow and low surface, Raina was able to pull without any issues, and said he was looking to stay positive against the tactic.

"In T20 or one-day if you get a short ball you get out sometimes, sometimes you don't. Now my position is good, I am looking to play the ball down. I am not committing myself, just looking to watch it rather than doing anything."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by caldruid on (March 23, 2014, 8:05 GMT)

Every sentence praising Raina should have "in the subcontinent" appended to it so that readers don't forget his debacles outside India

Posted by siddhartha87 on (March 23, 2014, 7:58 GMT)

India should field a different team in t20s. Yuvraj and Raina should not be drafted back to the ODI squad even if they does well here or in IPL. Play more international t20s and make a squad of specialists for this format.

Posted by LovedFansofIndianCricket on (March 23, 2014, 6:23 GMT)

Is India playing for country or helping RCB to become strong in IPL. If yuvi is not in the form, then give chance to Rahane or Binny. They are better batsman than out of form Yuvi. Mr Dhoni WC in not the stage to inclide out of form players. Shikhar is not in the form. Yuvi also. Rohit some what paying. Indian batting in mainly lies on Virat, Raina and Dhoni. Pls include Binny or Rahane and make Rahane as oppener and play Shikhar in 5 Down

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (March 23, 2014, 5:59 GMT)

I think Kohli for the sake of Team India may make room for Raina to play at 3. Kohli has the temperament to bat great from 1 to 4 and bat okay from 5 to 6. Unfortunately Rainas mind is saddled to 3.

Posted by realfan on (March 23, 2014, 5:20 GMT)

raina was and is a good finisher when it comes to shorter format , be it 50 over or 20 overs... he has a clear mindset about his game and he will do what he is assigned of... only weeknes is the short pitch stuuf which he seems to have worked out with the help of ganguly in the resting time he has got .... clearly he was missed in asia cup along with dhoni... glad he is back to form..

Posted by vkumar_086 on (March 22, 2014, 19:51 GMT)

Raina is the only player of India, who hit centuries in all formats---ODI, test and T-20...good going raina

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 22, 2014, 19:29 GMT)

Raina is a quality player in ODI and T20 cricket. He should NEVER play test cricket. He's a specialist. I love the way he batted the other day against Pakistani bowlers. He has a calm and cool head on his shoulders. That will serve India well in this tournament. The only major worry is India's opening partnership and Yuvi's form. If we can sort that out, India will go all the way and could also win this tournament. For me, Virat Kohli should open the innings. Raina is ideal at no.3 and that's the position he should remain at. He bats the same position for CSK and scores big runs. I am confident DADA had a role to play in this new found confidence of Raina.

Posted by Sir_Ivor on (March 22, 2014, 19:15 GMT)

I agree with Thomas Cherian. Aaron has the raw pace that very few have. With a little movement which he has he could be unplayable if only Dhoni would use him judiciously. Bhuvi has as they say."been sorted out" for the moment. He will have to reinvent himself with change of pace and good yorkers. I think he has suffered the same fate as Vinay Kumar. Vinay however is on the way to re-discovering his skills. They should stick with Aaron Umesh Yadav and Shami all the way to the world cup. I think that will be a match winning trio.

Posted by KFRITZ on (March 22, 2014, 19:07 GMT)

@jamini...I dont think the team looked pedestrian in the asia was a very inexperienced team that played in the asia cup and yet they played well to take the game to the last over in both matches that they lost....the combined average experience of the asia cup team was abt 35 ODIs ..

Posted by jango_moh on (March 22, 2014, 18:02 GMT)

@Jamini Padhi... this is the problem with indian fans.... we lost a close match to pak in the asia cup, it could have gone either way.... if we lose, we are hopeless, if we win, we are the best side in the world!!!!!

Posted by Vishal_07 on (March 22, 2014, 15:20 GMT)

I don't think Raina has issues playing short balls in ODIs, he has issues playing short balls outside the subcontinent. In Bangladesh, esp. against bowlers unlike Steyn or Johnson, both Raina and Yuvi can play well.

The team that played on Friday has a good chance in this tournament but unfortuntely that is not going to work in Australia for the ODI WC!

Posted by   on (March 22, 2014, 15:06 GMT)

A year ago Raina used to be as fluent, reliable run getter, finisher for India. He was just as destructive as Virat Kohli. Somehow he has lost the scoring ability yet in the match against Pakistan he showed signs of coming back to form. He is a great fielder & a good player to watch. Dhawan is unfortunately struggling but he too spend some time at the crease with Rohit. Once Rohit, Dhawan, Raina get going in addition to the explosive Virat & reliable captain cool MSD .. don't think any team can even put up a fight. In any case this very team looked pedestrian few days ago when they lost out in Asia Cup. The team looks totally different, without any change with Dhoni in charge. Captain does make a lot of difference just like Raina has said..

Posted by godshand on (March 22, 2014, 14:53 GMT)

Rotating will help, have a set of 25 players and play them on a rotational basis for a long-term benefit.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2014, 14:40 GMT)

Well done Raina....Dropping Raina in the newzealand series was a blunder & that was the prime reason why we lost the last 2 matches badly & also the series 4-0. He is the best player to be tagged & groomed as No.4 in the ODI & also in T20, he could also be useful as No.6 Test matches. He is a utility player. The intension behind tagging Raina as a short ball flop is only to eliminate him. Remember in Newzealand every Indian batsman were struggling against short balls. If Dravid becomes the coach of India, Raina's role in Indian team will be better utilized.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2014, 14:20 GMT)

The only thing seperates Raina from Virat & Rohit, is inability of playing short ball. Rohit and Virat are fluent in tackling short ball. In fact Rohit has the best tecnic of playing short ball. Just observe him since CT. He hit short ball easily. Even Virat has good tecnic too. Raina even today struggling to play short balls. In sub continent he may servives but in countries like Eng, SA, Aussie, NZ he always struggles. If he want to be permenent in bigger virsion, he must overcome his drawback.

Posted by   on (March 22, 2014, 14:07 GMT)

I think Kumar has run out his charm with his pace he will be not a good one to have in the team. They should give varon a run he will get better with more confidence

Posted by manisacumen on (March 22, 2014, 13:42 GMT)

Raina is a finisher in ODI and should always be treated like that. Just becasue he clicks as a finisher, he and people think that he could be useful if he bats up the order in ODIs. And 9 out of 10 times, he is going to fail. The results will prove. When it comes to T20, he has only 15-20 overs to go. very little time to settle, similar to his role in ODIs as a finisher when he comes after 35-40 overs. It is very easy for him. It is sad that this cannot be so easily seen by our Dhoni and selectors and insisting on Raina to pad up early will only result in failures. Everyone should play his role according to success rate and not according to one's potential. Dhoni needs a few balls to settle in and he will fly. But he comes late in both ODIs and T20s. It is time he comes above Yuvi and Raina. And if we are to win in Australia, he should come ahead of these two. Else i am sure we will fail. And reg Rohit, no matter how good he is , he is not suited for opening, in ODI r T20

Posted by   on (March 22, 2014, 12:22 GMT)

Raina-Kohli-Rohit-Jadeja-Dhoni The best middle order currently on display acc to the conditions Mishra-Ashwin-Jadeja Best spinning trio after Pakistan Only lacking for india is the 8 overs from Shami-kumar If yuvraj-raina chips in with 1-1 over each economically, India will lift the cup

Posted by Cricketlover516 on (March 22, 2014, 11:45 GMT)

He is the one of the best finisher in world. So , India also needs him in ODI.

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