Suresh Raina is focussing to get back into the 50-over format with regular performances and he had his eyes on getting into the team by the time of upcoming World Cup season. This middle-order batsman was selected for the T20I series against South Africa. He said that this will be a vital series for him to return to the International cricket.
He spoke to the press about his selection to the T20I series against the Safaris. He said that it was his “do or die” series.
In his interview to the press, he said “Definitely. It feels like I’ve been selected to the Indian team for the first time. I have worked hard for the past two years, so when I saw my India jersey I felt a bit emotional that I got the jersey after quite a while. Like you said, the three games will be quite important. I have done well in whatever opportunities I have got [recently].
“These T20 matches are important, then Bangladesh [T20 tri-series] and then IPL. Fifty-overs do need experience – it makes a lot of difference. Because this position is such that, you’ll come to bat when the team is in trouble.”
Raina said that he prefers to bat in no.4 or no.5 positions in the team and he predicted that the management will opt for left-handed and right-handed batsmen combination to balance the line-up.
Raina made his debut in 2005 and was a standard member in T20Is up to a decade till he was dropped in 2015 due to low scores. He was dropped for matches in the tour to the USA in 2016. Again he was back into the team in 2017 and he made 34, 7 and 63 runs in three T20I series against England. He missed series against West Indies, New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka and he expressed his disappointment about that.
He said about his feelings then, “I was quite down because I wasn’t playing,”
“Plus, I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t playing. I had made a fifty  against South Africa, but after that nothing happened. I thought to myself, ‘I’m not giving up, [I] want to play for the country, and [I] want to play with all my heart.”
He commented on his failing Yo-Yo test that “See, in the middle, I was playing a lot,” Raina explained on why he failed the test back then. “Virat [Kohli] had set some parameters, and when I did the yo-yo test at the NCA 10 days ago, my speed was among the top five or six. I’ve always been fit, and I am fit now, but sometimes one needs time to recover.”
He stood as the sixth highest scorer in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament with 314 runs in nine matches. He expressed his competency to serve his team and that he can bowl for three to four overs. He said Dhoni should be allowed to play in no.4 or no.5 positions to support the inexperienced middle-order batsmen.
In this context, he said, “You see Dhoni batting below, he should come up and bat more so that he gets more time to settle,” Raina said. “Now that Yuvraj [Singh] and I aren’t there, he should come and play above, so that those playing below him will also get experienced. If MS is batting on top, then he’ll keep the run rate high. If Mahi bats at No. 4, then all those below him will gain priceless experience.
“Earlier, Yuvraj would hit fours and sixes at No. 4, then I’d come at No. 5, and Mahi would finish at No. 6 – so our roles were settled thanks to [former coach] Gary Kirsten.”