| Suresh Raina |
Visakhapatnam: Suresh Raina feels the return of Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh will be of great help during their World Twenty20 campaign in Sri Lanka.
“It’s almost the same team that won the World Cup 2011. Also, we have a lot players who were a part of World T20 triumph in 2007. So the team is upbeat and in a positive frame of mind ahead of the World T20,” Raina said.
Having done it twice for India by helping the team win the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 and the ODI World Cup last year, Yuvraj has ensured that the mood is upbeat with less than a fortnight to go for the tournament in Sri Lanka.
“Yuvibhai is such a great fighter. He has put in so much effort, worked really hard at the NCA. You will get to see this when he comes out on the field. He is a teamman. He is my inspiration. There is so much to learn from him. I really wish him best of luck in his comeback. We are pretty confident that he will do well,” he said.
“Bhajjibhai is also returning. He is one of the key players in the line-up. We have a lot of all-rounders who can chip in with two/three overs.”
Raina feels India does have a combination that can create magic. “Our fielding is very agile. We also have good youngsters in Manoj Tiwary, Ashok Dinda… Our side looks really balanced,” he pointed out.
India had a fine outing in Sri Lanka in July-August when they thrashed the hosts 4-1 in the ODIs and 1-0 in a one-off T20 match.
Raina played the role of a finisher as he aggregated 174 with an average of 58.00 in the five-match ODI series.
“I had a fine outing in that series. We won the series convincingly. I’m looking forward towards doing well again there,” Raina said.
“We are coming back after two good series against Sri Lanka (in Sri Lanka) and New Zealand. It was nice to win the both the series handsomely. Now everything is in order for the World T20. The T20s against New Zealand will give us a perfect build up before we leave for Sri Lanka,” Raina said.
India will take on New Zealand in two T20Is before flying to Sri Lanka where they will warm-up against the hosts (September 15) and Pakistan (September 17).
These four games, he believes, will give India the perfect momentum before taking on Afghanistan in the opener.
“These two matches (against NZ) and two warm-up games in Sri Lanka should be enough to get an idea... We will get to know how the team is shaping up,” the left-hander said.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka would be two tough opponents in the World T20, Raina said.
“West Indies also have a fine T20 side but Sri Lanka and Pakistan are stronger contenders due to familiarity with sub-continental conditions. But anything can happen in T20.”
Raina was recalled into the just-concluded Test series after a poor outing in England. The youngster had one half-century, and was involved in a crucial 99-run partnership with Virat Kohli in the second Test. Raina, however, hoped to return stronger when the England series starts later this year.
“I’m counting on the positives. I had a fine partnership with Virat. I gave my best, but I was unlucky a couple of times. Hopefully, I will be able to rectify those mistakes before the England series.”
The teams couldn’t practice on Thursday because of rain. (PTI)