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May 23, 2010
Suresh Raina, India's stand-in captain for the tri-series in Zimbabwe, has said the tour is "an excellent opportunity" for the younger players selected in place of resting or injured seniors to stake a claim for a regular spot in the national line-up.
"It's nice that the seniors wanted a break and the selectors took the positive step of picking such a young side," Raina told the Telegraph. "Indeed, one is thankful to the board."
Raina was named captain for the tournament, and Virat Kohli his deputy, after the selectors decided to rest regular captain MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Praveen Kumar. Seamers Pankaj Singh and Ashok Dinda, wicketkeeper Naman Ojha and offspinner R Ashwin are the new faces getting a look in.
"I spoke to Gary [Kirsten] before leaving the West Indies. We talked about the preparations on getting to Zimbabwe. I've got a good pace attack, all are young and hungry. The tour will be an opportunity to learn and press for a regular berth in the ODIs and stake a claim at the highest level -- Test cricket."
Raina will be leading India for the first time and he said his aim was to "win every game" without putting himself or his team-mates under too much pressure. "By nature, I'm very positive and, while on the field, I'm high on intensity. Those things won't change. I've learnt from some of our best captains. I realise one has to be disciplined and one must follow the process.
"I'm happy with the team. At some level or the other, I've played with all those who've been selected - Under-19, India A, India. I know them and they know me." India will leave for Zimbabwe on May 26 and play their first match against the hosts on May 28 before taking on Sri Lanka two days later.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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