India v West Indies, World T20, Group 2, Dhaka March 22, 2014

T20 batting clarity works for Raina


Play 01:33
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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pr 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

  • siddhartha 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.

  • Suhas 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

  • Varnendra 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.

  • vishwas 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..

  • VIJAY 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

  • Jay 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.

  • Subramani 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.

  • Raj 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 ..

  • moginraj 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!!!!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.