'I have performed my role with utmost sincerity'
He drew a lot of flak for poor performances in the disastrous tour of Australia but young Indian batsman Suresh Raina is unperturbed by the criticism and says he knows his worth in the team.
Even skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was criticised by many for giving him a long rope but the Uttar Pradesh-lad has taken everything chin-up and has told critics to see his batting record.
"Critics can say a lot of things but I know that I have tried to perform the role assigned to me with utmost sincerity. People can say whatever they like but the senior members of the Indian team know my worth and that is what is important for me," Raina told PTI in an interview.
'After the IPL is over, I will take a month's break'
Asked about his weakness against short-pitched bowling, the 25-year-old replied that he is working hard to regain his place in the Test side and will go to Australia for a personal training stint.
"After the IPL is over, I will take a month's break and then start training again. In fact, I plan to go to Australia accompanied by current Chennai Super Kings physio Tom Simsek for an extensive fitness program. If possible, I might play a few club matches in order to get some good match practice on bouncy pitches," Raina said.
The youngster feels that before critcising him, experts should carefully analyse the position where he bats.
"The kind of depth we have in our batting, I normally come out to bat in the 38th or the 40th over. That is the most crucial phase for the batting team where you need to step up the run-rate."
'Only MS and Yuvraj have won more matches than me'
Raina, who is now the 'seniormost member of the youth brigade', said that save skipper Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, he has "won the maximum matches for India batting at No 6 or 7."
"Just check the records. Only MS and Yuvraj have won more matches than me in recent times batting at No 6 or 7. I played two important knocks in the World Cup (34 no against Australia in quarterfinal and 36 no against Pakistan in semi-final). I have been playing well for the past few matches and I hope that I would continue to do well in the coming matches also."
"Irrespective of whether you are batting first or chasing, you have to go all out and start hitting. It's a difficult job in the ODIs and T20s but I have been performing that duty for quite some time now. You look at Hobart (he scored 40 no in 24 balls) where I had a partnership with Virat," Raina said.
'I would like to get my spot in the Test squad back'
Having played last of his 15 Tests against England at the Oval last year, Raina is confident of making a comeback in the five-day fold in near future.
Raina's 147-match ODI record is pretty decent having notched up 3525 runs at 34.90 but in Tests he averages 29.58 with 710 runs in 15 outings.
"There is competition for a place in the Test squad but now with Rahul Dravid's retirement, one slot has opened up. I would like to score runs and get my spot in the Test squad back."
'There is no reason why CSK can't win the IPL again'
Raina feels that the inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja in the CSK set-up has been a huge boost and they will come all guns blazing at their opponents.
"We have a fantastic team. Jadeja's inclusion makes all three departments even more stronger.
"Also we have a good blend of youth and experience and there is no reason why we can't win the IPL again," he concluded.