‘There is more pressure on the bowlers’ due to the new ODI rules, says Suresh Raina

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“It’s been a good contest so far”

India batsman Suresh Raina has announced that he believes the new ODI rules implemented by the International Cricket Council (ICC) puts “more pressure on the bowlers”

Raina noted that India’s bowlers are struggling to adjust to the new rules as well.

“We are not getting the ball to reverse, while spinners are also not getting turns as with two balls it do not get old,” he said. “But we have no excuse. We have to do well under the circumstances.

“We have to admit that it’s tough for the bowlers. When five players are inside (the circle), it’s obviously going to be difficult for the part-timers as your regular bowlers are not doing well.

“Bowlers come under pressure as to what line and length they would have to try when five players are inside. You’re allowed to bowl two bouncers but then you have to bowl four more balls after that.”

Raina revealed that pace bowler Ishant Sharma had been working his socks off after getting smashed for 30 runs in one over during the third ODI in Mohali.

“I hope Ishant would be strong in his mindset and approach the match in a positive manner,” Raina said. “He has really worked hard in the last two days.

“Our bowlers are doing well. Our think tank is strong and have good planning. Bowlers are training hard for last two days. The harder they work the better they would perform. Hopefully we will do really well against the Aussies on Wednesday.”

When asked if hammering 15 to 20 runs off an over was becoming more of a common occurrence in ODIs, Raina said: “The players are used to the Indian bowlers after six IPLs. There’s positive as well as negative aspect to it. There is more pressure on the bowlers nowadays.”

The 26-year-old added that India are not under any pressure whatsoever, even though they trail Australia 2-1 in the seven-match series.

“We won the first match in Pune,” he said. “Then they won. It’s been a good contest so far. Our batting is clicking and [so is our] bowling. The team who play well on that given day would win. It’s about your aura in the field and the mental toughness.”

With the fourth ODI being played in Ranchi, Raina noted that India would be looking to stay unbeaten at the venue after they thrashed England there by seven wickets on January 19.

“We have done well against England in the last match here,” he said. “Definitely we would try to do well here. Just hope that it will be our day on Wednesday.”

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni recently noted that he wanted Raina coming in to bat at number four as it will allow him to have more time to build his innings instead of coming in lower down the order with the intent of trying to smash every delivery out of the ground.

“I’ve played many matches at No 4 and 6,” Raina said. “I had a top edge in the last match but I’m batting well and feeling fine and positive. The No. 4 spot belongs to me in the upcoming matches and I hope I do well.”

Raina also noted that India are currently more focused on their ongoing series than the 2015 ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“We can’t say what would happen after two days or weeks,” he said. “Our main focus now is to beat Australia. It’s a long way to go. on Wednesady’s match is more important and we are getting ready for it. It’s about taking one match at a time.”

The flamboyant batsman also revealed that he had “learnt a lot” from both Dhoni and veteran all-rounder Yuvraj Singh.

“He [Dhoni] has been batting well over the years,” Raina said. “I’ve learnt a lot from him and Yuvraj Singh. He’s a finisher in ODI and T20 cricket.”

Speaking about Dhoni’s trademark helicopter shot, Raina said: “That’s Mahi’s exclusive. He has specialised on that and it suits him only. It’s amazing the way he clears the ball with his full strength…It’s amazing. He has practised a lot. We have our gameplan. We just have to stay positive.”

The 26-year-old also admitted that Australia left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Johnson has proven to be India’s biggest threat so far.

“No doubt, he is bowling well,” Raina said. “But our planning is equally good against him. We have to do well especially in the middle order. Myself, Yuvi bhai and (Ravindra) Jadeja would have to do well.”

Raina finished by saying it would be a dream come true for him if he were able to play in Sachin Tendulkar’s last two Test matches against the West Indies next month.

“Personally for me the next four ODIs are very important as I’ve to make a comeback into the Test squad,” he added. “It (Tendulkar’s 200th) will be a dream Test for me whether I play or not. He is world’s No 1 batsman and more importantly a good human being. It will be a sad moment for all of us. It’s a very important moment for his family. I hope he scores centuries in both of his last two Tests.”

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