Having guided Chennai Super Kings to their second Champions League T20 triumph, Suresh Raina revealed that he improved his batting by learning from team mates, particularly Virat Kohli, who has shown the way with big hundreds in One-Day Internationals.
"I have learnt a lot in these seven years. In the earlier years, there used to be Matthew Hayden along with Mike Hussey, and also our coach, Stephen Fleming, who helped me mature.
"In the Indian team, I learnt a lot from watching Virat Kohli convert starts into big hundreds in ODI cricket. Not to forget my partnerships with (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. Also like to mention Yuvraj Singh's name," said a beaming Raina, at the post-match interview after Chennai Super Kings beat Kolkata Knight Riders by eight wickets in the CLT20 final in Bangalore on Saturday night.
"It's important to perform on a big day. I believe they got 20 runs short a bit. I was determined to play till the end and see my team through. I have played Kuldeep (Yadav), Yusuf (Pathan) and Piyush (Chawla) earlier and wanted to be positive," he added.
CSK broke the trophy jinx after three years
Raina blasted 109 not out from just 62 balls, hitting six fours and eight sixes.
With CSK breaking the trophy jinx after three years, Raina said the team environment was the key to the success.
"We have amazing players like Baz (Brendon McCullum), Faf (du Plessis) and Bravo and it's an amazing atmosphere," he said.
‘Overall, it was a fantastic game for us’
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said winning the toss proved crucial, as the KKR bowlers found it difficult to grip the ball in the second half of the match.
"Overall, it was a fantastic game for us. To start off, it was a good toss to win. It was slightly difficult for the opposition bowlers. Our fielding was not up to the mark. In finals you have to take the game to the next level. We didn't start well with too many easy mis-fields," he said.
‘Negi is not afraid to toss the ball’
Dhoni was all praise for young spinner Pawan Negi, who grabbed five wickets for 22 runs to restrict KKR to 180 after they looked set for a total in excess of 200 at one stage.
"Negi is not afraid to toss the ball. It was important to do that to get something out of the wicket. Just like Kuldeep was also not afraid to toss the ball. He has that variety and will only mature as he graduates into international cricket," said Dhoni.
For Dhoni, more than anything else, winning four out of the eight finals (IPL and CLT20 put together) is not bad at all, as it gives him a 50 percent success rate.
"What's important is to get to the knock-outs. After that you may win games, you may lose games. We have made eight finals, won four. I won't say it is too bad!
"We made quite a few errors in the last two finals, so what we took out of those finals was really important.
"Raina was aggressive throughout and he ensured he stayed till the end."