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Sourav not taking credit for Raina’s strong return

Sourav Ganguly

Dhaka: Comeback man Suresh Raina has acknowledged former India captain Sourav Ganguly’s “tips” which, as it turns out, have helped him make a strong return to Team India.

However, Sourav isn’t taking credit. Both, incidentally, are centurions on Test debut.

“To put it simply, I advised Suresh (a fellow-southpaw) to not be tentative coming forward and not to keep expecting the short-pitched balls. It’s a mindset thing and he should play within himself,” Sourav told The Telegraph on the nearly 90-minute drive from the airport to the Pan Pacific Sonargaon on Wednesday.

The flying time from Calcutta to Bangladesh’s capital, where traffic snarls have worsened, had been 35 minutes!

Raina scored 41 in India’s first practice match ahead of the World T20, against Sri Lanka, and 54 in the second and final one, versus England.

But Raina, a senior pro, has to deliver in the tournament proper.

Meanwhile, buoyed by the “very positive” feedback to the short stint by consultants Waqar Younis and Muttiah Muralidharan, back home, Sourav is hoping to invite players from the other states of the region too.

It’s a laudable idea.

“I’ve got to discuss it with Mr (Jagmohan) Dalmiya, but I’ll be happy if Jharkhand’s Varun Aaron, for example, could also avail of the expertise provided by Waqar,” Sourav said.

At Sourav’s initiative, the Dalmiya-headed Cricket Association of Bengal signed up Waqar and Murali to work with the local talent for four days.

“I agree it was a short visit by the duo. Their next, in August, will be for a week... Our plan is to get Waqar and Murali four times in a year, subject to their respective schedules...

“Locally, a fast bowling coach (Ranadeb Bose) is already there to take things forward... Right now, we’re looking for a spin coach. I wanted Utpal Chatterjee, but he isn’t available... I’m there to work with the batsmen,” Sourav pointed out.

Bengal’s Ranji coach Ashok Malhotra will be kept in the loop. Sourav, clearly, wants to be politically correct.

For good measure, Sourav added that “betterment” was his only agenda.