His confidence on a high after an impressive display against Pakistan in India's World Cup opener, all-rounder Suresh Raina wants to fill in the shoes of
Yuvraj Singh, the hero of 2011 edition, in the ongoing showpiece event being jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Coming out to bat at crucial number four position, left-handed Raina smashed 74 off just 56 deliveries to help India register a comfortable 76 runs win over arch-rivals Pakistan in their opening Pool B match at Adelaide on Sunday. Talking about his innings, 28-year-old Raina credited 2011 World Cup man-of-the-tournament Yuvraj and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his success.
"You need to follow your instincts which I have learnt from Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni. I have always batted lower down the order and in the previous World Cup when I didn't play the bulk of the matches, I observed Yuvi and saw how he used to finish games for the side," he said.
"I want to play Yuvraj Singh's role in this World Cup. I want to field, bowl and bat well," Raina told bcci.tv. "I will look to be dominant when required and at the same time play sensible cricket by rotating the strike and complement the partner at the other end.
"I love to play straight and have an array of scoring options. There will be phases when you are not scoring against particular bowlers and you need to play sensible at that time," he added, referring to his knock against Pakistan.
'It was a masterstroke by the captain to walk out to each player'
Raina said the win against Pakistan was the much-needed fillip for India, who went through a torrid time in Australia prior to the World Cup.
"Games against Pakistan are always pressure games. It is a different feeling to play against Pakistan. This is my second World Cup and the second World Cup game against Pakistan. We won it in 2011 and now I have played against them in 2015 and won it again," he said.
"I hope we maintain this record against them. We have got the start that we were looking for this World Cup. I hope we do well in the coming matches," Raina said.
"We have not had the best of times in Australia over the last three months but we showed a lot of intensity in the warm-up games. We had a very good meeting with MS Dhoni where he spoke to each and every player of the team about their roles and responsibilities in the tournament.
"It was a masterstroke by the captain to walk out to each player and make them understand their roles. It was followed by the rest of the management giving us pointers about the game and it was a good touch added to our daily regime," he added.
'I will look to be dominant when required'
Admitting that he was a little bit nervous before going out to bat against Pakistan, Raina said running between the wickets might just play a crucial role in the big Australian grounds in this World Cup.
"I have to accept I was nervous in the morning before the match. But before walking out to bat I had in the back of the mind that I had scored an unbeaten 36 in the last WC game against Pakistan in Mohali. I was confident about my game since I had played Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan and Shahid
Afridi before in India," he said.
"Running between the wickets is going to be crucial this World Cup since the grounds are bigger. You need to work the spinners into the gaps and look for scoring at a good rate. Also, it really helps having a good runner at the end. We weren't getting the boundaries frequently, but because of the strike rotation, we managed to get 5 to 6 runs every over.
"I will look to be dominant when required and at the same time play sensible cricket by rotating the strike and complement the partner at the other end. I love to play straight and have an array of scoring options. There will be phases when you are not scoring against particular bowlers and you need to play sensible at that time," Raina added.