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ODI team will seek inspiration from 2008 triumph: Raina

Last updated on: January 31, 2012 10:55 IST

ODI team will seek inspiration from 2008 triumph: Raina

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India was completely outplayed in the four-Test series against Australia, but it could turn out to be a completely different story in the One-Day Internationals tri-series, which includes Australia and Sri Lanka, next month, believes ace batsman Suresh Raina.

Asked whether those in the ODI team are affected by the Test side's poor showing Down Under, Raina replied: "We have not been affected. We are going to Australia with a fresh mindset. Our approach will be completely different since the ODI team and Test team are completely different.

"I believe cricket is all about mental toughness. The ODI side has done remarkably well in the last few years, including winning the World Cup last year. We are not scared of any team, and I am confident we will do well in the tri-series," he added.


Image: Surest Raina


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Getting acclimatized

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Raina, along with Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Manoj Tiwary and Rahul Sharma flew to Australia last week.

They have a few days and some practice matches to get acclimatized to the conditions before they get into the think of action with the first of two T20 matches against Australia on February 1 at Sydney.

The tri-series opens on February 5, with India taking on Australia in the first ODI at Melbourne.

"It will be a big help going to Australia and getting used to the conditions and the wickets. All our players have gone there before and played either for India or India 'A', so we all have a good idea of the conditions and wickets, which will make our task easier.

"We will also play a few practice games before the tri-series, which will help us settle down," he said the left-hand batsman.


Image: Suresh Raina


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'Have worked on my batting'

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What was most obvious in India's dismal showing in the Tests was the inability of their batsmen to cope with the pace of the Australian fast bowlers.

But Raina is confident that the wickets will not be as challenging in the ODIs and the batsmen will come up with a better showing in the 50-over format.

Talking about his preparation for the Australian tour, Raina said he trained hard in the last couple of weeks.

"I spent a week at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, where we worked on our fitness and also played a couple of practice games. After that I played for India in the DY Patil All India Twenty20 tournament, where I scored runs and also got some much-needed match practice.

"I have been working on my wrist, because I know there will be a lot of bounce on the Australian pitches. I trained with Praveen Amre during my matches with Air India. He has played for India and has evolved as a very good coach in the last few years. He gave me some important tips on batting on how to play on those pitches and how to tackle the bounce.

"I have been hitting the ball well in the nets, and, hopefully, I will do well in the one-day series too.


Image: Suresh Raina


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'I am mentally much stronger'

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India can take inspiration from their triumph in the tri-series in 2008 when they outclassed Australia 2-0 in the best-of-three finals. Raina, just a 21-year-old then, was part of the Indian squad, but did not get to play a single match.

An integral cog in the ODI batting line-up, he says he is a changed player and has improved drastically since the last tour three years ago.

"I did not get to play a single ODI in 2008, but the positive point was that we won the tri-series. The memories of that victory are still fresh in our mind and we will seek inspiration from that and look to repeat it.

"This time my role has changed a lot; I am one of the senior players in the ODI squad. I have matured a lot since the last tour, my mindset has changed, and my batting has improved. I have also captained India twice [in the Zimbabwe tri-series and the One-Day series in the West Indies], so it has improved my game overall and helped me to understand things better.

"I am mentally much stronger and I believe I can tackle any kind of situation."


Image: Suresh Raina


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'Would like to bat up the order'

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Raina revealed that he would like to bat up the order, since batting at No. 5 or 6 he hardly gets time to play a big innings.

"I would like to bat up the order, because when you bat at number at six or seven you hardly get any overs to get your eye in. When I got a chance to bat higher up the order, like in the Asia Cup [in 2008], I scored two centuries, and, then, on the tour of England last year, I made 80.

"But I don't mind batting at any position for the team's sake. Batting lower down the order is a challenge and I am happy to have done well so far. Now I have a better idea of when to attack or when to play with restraint. In the final overs, you have to take chances, sometimes they come off, sometimes you get out," he added.


Image: Suresh Raina

Tags: Raina , England

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'I have done well in Tests matches too'

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The youngster also believes that it is unfair to label someone as a Test specialist or a limited-overs' specialist.

"Look at David Warner! Everyone thought he was only good to play Twenty20 matches, but now he has proved he can succeed in Test matches too. Cricket is all in the mind, and about how you tackle a particular situation. It is all about taking your chances and believing in your ability.

"I have done well in Tests matches too. I scored three half-centuries in difficult conditions in the West Indies and then I made a half-century in the first Test in England. I also believe that luck was not on my side, as I got a few bad decisions in England, which eventually cost my place in the Test side.

"But I have age on my side and I believe I can make a comeback to the Indian Test team," he said.

For the moment, though, Raina is looking to turnaround the beleaguered team's fortunes. Once that happens, he knows, the smiles will be back, not only the faces of his teammates, but Indian fans as well.


Image: Suresh Raina


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