Raina hails understrength India's turnaround
India's challenging tour of Zimbabwe has ended on a positive note with a 2-0 sweep of the Twenty20s and their captain Suresh Raina was relieved with the result after the second-string side had failed to make the finals of the tri-series. With several senior players resting, India were exposed by Zimbabwe in both their ODIs but hit back in the Twenty20s, which ended in a seven-wicket win at the Harare Sports Club.
"We didn't do well in the one-day series, but we came back really strongly, and I hope we will do well in the Asia Cup," Raina said. "The guys played really well here and we did a fantastic job in the last two games."
Although India didn't perform to expectations, Raina said a few players had a lot to gain, including Rohit Sharma who scored back-to-back centuries in the tri-series. Virat Kohli was the second-highest run scorer for India in the tri-series with 168 runs, including two fifties. The inexperienced seam attack struggled in the one-dayers but came back well in the Twenty20 games.
"It was good to see the players do well, especially Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, and also the bowling department," Raina said. "They have done really well in this tournament."
Raina also credited coach Gary Kirsten for his work behind the scenes in India's revival. "By the grace of God it's been a great two weeks so far for us, and especially for our coach Gary Kirsten. He worked really hard for us. That's what he believes in."
Raina will hand back the captaincy to MS Dhoni when the team heads to Sri Lanka for the Asia Cup, starting on June 15 in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. He said he was looking forward to the tournament, which will feature India's full-strength squad minus Sachin Tendulkar, who opted out.
"A lot of hard work is also required for the Asia Cup, and I too have to put in a lot more hard work and discipline into my batting," Raina said.