Raina stated that he will not be changing anything about his game
After suffering a humiliating 4-0 whitewash at the hands of England in November last year, India batsman Suresh Raina has announced that he cannot wait to get his revenge in the upcoming Test series.
To make things even more painful, India lost their number one Test team ranking in that series against England last year as well.
“I was there in England and I feel the pain of losing that series 0-4. I want to give some of that pain back,” Raina said.
Raina also noted that the use of SG balls would give the Indian seamers a great advantage over their English adversaries.
“There is a big difference in the SG Test and Duke balls. We have the bowlers who know how to get the SG Test ball to reverse swing like Zak (Zaheer Khan) and Umesh Yadav. It’ll be important how to handle the SG Test ball in humid cities like Kolkata and Mumbai. “We also have (Ravidhandran) Ashwin and (Pragyan) Ojha who have been amazing. The England team has good seamers like (Steve) Finn, (Stuart) Broad, (James) Anderson and it depends on how they can handle the SG Test ball,” Raina added.
Despite losing Andrew Strauss over the summer, Raina believes that the return of Kevin Pietersen into the England lineup will boost the tourists’ competitiveness and spirits.
“Yes, that is (Strauss’s retirement) a loss, but they have a huge positive in the form of KP’s return. He wasn’t there earlier, but now he’s back and that’s a big positive for them,” Raina said.
Raina is currently battling against his “role model” Yuvraj Singh to fill the number six spot on the Indian roster, and he stated that it was up to the selectors to decide who deserved the place more.
“Yuvraj has just come back from a serious illness. He’s a big role model for me and others. I would love to see him back in whites. I want that spot too. I want to play these four Tests against England. But I’d rather not dwell on who the spot will go to. Its upto the selectors who they want to pick,” Raina added.
Since he struggled against England off-spinner Graeme Swann in 2011, Raina looked to former Test batsman Pravin Amre for advice on how to score runs off his bowling.
“I asked him about Swann. He troubled me a lot in England and got me out four or five times. He (Amre) told me to keep my shoulder over the ball and my eyes in line with the ball,” Raina said.
After facing England, India will square off against Australia in a four-Test series as well, and Raina knows that he needs to improve his Test record before the start of that series.
After representing India in 17 Test matches, Raina is currently averaging just under 30, and he will be looking to push that up during the England series.
“Its just the mental aspect. I’ve given all that I have had to Test cricket, but a lot of people say and write a lot of things, but I know where I stand as far as Test cricket is concerned. Batting at No. 6 is not that easy, very often you get stuck with the tail and have to bat around them. I scored fifties in the West Indies and England and I even batted well against Australia in 2010. I’ve played 16 or 17 Tests, but as I play more games, I will understand my game better. I’ve already played 150 ODIs for India and have played six years of IPL. I know what the coach and selectors expect from me and what they need me to do at no 6. I love to play my natural game and I love to hit the ball,” Raina added.
Raina was quick to dismiss claims about his attacking shot selection being the key reason for his lack of success in Test cricket.
“No. If you see all the big players like Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen, they look to dominate the bowling. Sometimes, the risk pays off sometimes it doesn’t and you get out. I’m looking to learn as much as I can about my Test match batting so that I can improve my performances,” Raina said.
Despite only having two main spinners in the team, Raina noted that part-timers like himself, Yuvraj Singh and Manoj Tiwary could easily help complete the 90-over quota required per day.
“I, Yuvraj and Manoj Tiwary can bowl spin. I’ll manage the over-rate, it’s a good wicket. I’ve played here for Air India in the Times Shield, in under-19 games and in the IPL. It offers good bounce to the bowlers. The first two hours are going to be crucial and that is where the openers come into play,” Raina added.