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May 5, 2010
Stephen Fleming, the Chennai Super Kings coach, has attributed Suresh Raina's impressive show in the IPL and the ongoing World Twenty20 to his determination and effort to combat his weakness against the short ball, which was exposed in England last year. Raina was the third-highest run-getter in the IPL and was the Man of the Match in the final, which Chennai won. He followed that up with a 59-ball century against South Africa in St Lucia to seal India's place in the Super Eights.
"He knew that he would be attacked with short balls and I felt he is more than equipped to deal with it," Fleming told Daily News and Analysis. "I just had to make him realise his strengths. He went on to turn the so-called weakness into his strength.
"We have worked out plans on the areas where we thought he might be attacked. He tried hard at the nets with rising balls to make the right adjustments. He is a hard trier."
The adjustments Raina has had to make have not affected his strengths, Fleming said. "That's what good players do. Improvement in one area cannot be allowed to lead to deterioration in another area."
Fleming also credited Gary Kirsten for Raina's improvement and said his own role had been to concentrate on the mental aspect of Raina's game. "Suresh has been working on this with Gary Kirsten. My duty has been to facilitate and organise the facilities needed for him to work on those areas. More specifically I worked on the mental part of Suresh and his Twenty20 game. I've advised him on what frame of mind he should be in a Twenty20 format.
"Success breeds confidence. The range of shots he plays is a kind of expression of himself. He is able to play them because of his new-found confidence. His level of confidence matches his abilities. He is very positive and is not afraid of playing shots.
"He is very hard to bowl to I'd imagine. At this stage, Suresh is well ahead of his age in cricket. I was not even half as talented at that stage."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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