‘He was Sachin Tendulkar of bowling department’: Suresh Raina hails Indian pacer for 2011 World Cup performance
India cricketer Suresh Raina on Friday recalled the 2011 World Cup win in which he played a crucial role in India’s victory. The left-hander scored an unbeaten 34 and 36 against Australia and Pakistan in the quarterfinal, and semifinal, respectively, and helped his side reach the summit clash. Speaking to news agency PTI, the 34-year-old said: “Every year, we celebrate. Like the way we celebrate Holi and Diwali.”
The Chennai Super Kings batsman also went on to credit India seamer Zaheer Khan for his tremendous performance in the tournament and leading the bowling attack. “Whatever decision we were taking, it was all going in our favour. Zaheer bhai led the bowling attack. Everyone was talking about our strong batting line up but I would say he was the Sachin Tendulkar of the bowling department, getting us the breakthrough every time. Then the biggest contribution came from Yuvraj, who took wickets and finished games,” Raina said.
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Zaheer finished as the joint-highest wicket-taker in the tournament along with Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi with both bagging 21 wickets. The left-armer picked up 21 wickets in 9 games at an average of 18.76.
Raina further went on to talk about the final against Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and said that the dressing room was calm despite India losing early wickets in 275-run chase. “Even though Sri Lanka put up a challenging total, everyone was calm in the dressing room. Someone was in the shower, someone was taking ice bath, someone was eating, yet everyone was thinking about the trophy, everyone in their zone and no one was talking to each other.”
“There was just one goal and that was to win the trophy. There was pin drop silence when Sachin paaji got out but we remained calm. You should have seen the way Gautam Gambhir (who made 97) entered the field after Sehwag’s dismissal. He was so confident.”
“Seeing his body language, I thought he would win us the World Cup. Dhoni (who made 91) came ahead of an in-form Yuvraj, that was a big call but Dhoni told Gary Kirsten (coach) that he could play Muralitharan well so he went in. I still remember everything so vividly,” he said.