Suresh Raina, in the city, on Thursday. A Telegraph picture
Calcutta: “Koi pressure nahin... Enjoy karenge... It’s an excellent opportunity for all the players...”
That was a bubbly stand-in captain Suresh Raina, in conversation with The Telegraph, soon after landing in the city on Thursday evening.
Raina and his men leave for Bangladesh, for a three-match ODI series, early on Friday.
The series seems to be the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to the Bangladesh Cricket Board for toeing its line in the International Cricket Council.
A delayed flight from New Delhi and a typical traffic snarl on the way from the airport meant that Raina (and leggie Amit Mishra) could only reach the ITC Sonar after 6.30 pm.
“I intend doing a bit of gym,” Raina said, adding that he’d try and touch base with the iconic Sourav Ganguly, somebody whom he admires.
Earlier this year, Sourav helped lift Raina’s confidence when he’d been dropped for the Asia Cup. The left-hander came back strongly in the World T20, which followed that tournament.
The India commitments over, Raina (a Chennai Super Kings veteran) had a fruitful IPL, finishing with a memorable 87 off 25 balls, in Mumbai.
It was in a lost cause, but the innings, against the Kings XI Punjab, was very special.
After the IPL, Raina took a “small break” and went over to Kashmir with family and friends.
“We travelled across Kashmir and even visited the LOC... I needed time off and it has refreshed me,” Raina pointed out.
Asked if there was a formula to make it count in ODIs, Raina replied: “Playing with commitment, being disciplined and playing with passion... Josh rehna zaroori hai.”
Raina, who has captained India in Zimbabwe (2010) and in the West Indies, a year after that, remarked that he was “looking forward” to again working closely with coach Duncan Fletcher.
Fletcher’s India innings had, after all, begun with Raina captaining in the one-off T20 International and in the five-match ODI series, in the West Indies.
It turned out to be a winning debut for Fletcher.