In many ways, Suresh Raina’s success as a batsman has run parallel to this team’s ascendancy in the limited-overs game under MS Dhoni. Hailed as a stand-out batsman by former India coach Greg Chappell, Raina has recently lifted his game to heights few expected. “I spoke a lot to the seniors who have been here before,” Raina said. “Sachin and Sehwag both said the wind is a huge factor here, it won’t be easy to read the bowlers, you have to be careful.
“To be honest, the conditions haven’t been as bad as we had feared, though these are easily the toughest conditions I have played in. If I can learn from here, it will help improve my game and mindset. We have a very good combination and are getting a lot of inputs in the dressing room. The atmosphere is so good, we get to learn a lot,” Raina added.
When asked what specific adjustments he had to make to counter the wind, Raina said, “We practised in Wellington, there was a lot of wind there. The shape of your body whilst batting is very important. If your head drops a bit or you close your eyes, shot-making becomes difficult. It is very important to maintain balance. Also, the importance of spending time in the middle and not being hasty was stressed repeatedly in team meetings.”
Raina also said he was comfortable with his ever-changing batting positions. “As long as the team is doing really well, I am happy with whether I am playing three, five or six,” he said. “When I was on my way back from injury, the team was packed — there was Robin, Rohit. But I worked very hard on my game. This is my opportunity, I feel I can do better.”