A chat with Suresh Raina ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup.
On India playing all matches in Colombo: Good for the team and good for the support staff. We can stay in one place. We can have Chinese, Indian food. At the same time, we know how the wicket is going to be in Premadasa. We have played a lot of matches in Premadasa. So its good for our game.
On conditions in R.Premadasa stadium: Always helps in the night especially for the seam bowlers. We have played a lot of matches in Premadasa. There is always movement with the new ball. But in Twenty20 anything can happen. We have seen a lot of SLPL [Sri Lanka Premier League] matches on TV. Lot of youngsters from Sri Lanka has been doing a really good job. But I think this is a game in which you have to be in your toes all the while. You have to field well. You have to bowl well.
His own recent form: Yeah, it has been good. I have been hitting the ball well. In Sri Lanka too (in the last series). I have been getting a lot of runs in IPL in the last five years. God has been really kind. We have a lot
of power in middle order and we hope to deliver everyday.
On Yuvraj being back on the team: He has been phenomenal. Credit goes to his family, his friends, and everyone wanted him to play for the Indian team again. I think he showed character and responsibility to his body. He showed that the disease can be cured. And he worked really hard at the NC [camp]. I saw him playing the last game against New Zealand [the t20 in Chennai]. He was fully pumped up. He fielded very well and he bowled two overs brilliantly and he was just like what he was earlier. I think it is important for us to keep supporting him all the way to the end. It’s going to be good for the Indian team.
Does the Chennai loss to New Zealand give the Indian team nightmares? No, not really. We were seeing that game as a practice game. They bowled really well. I think New Zealanders know the condition as they have been playing there for the last two months. They have had a lot of practice. I think it is good for them. But in the Twenty20 game, anything can happen. Afghanistan can beat any team, so can Bangladesh. This is all about how you approach the tournament.
Do batsmen have it easy in the T20 format? We have to play our shots in Twenty20. He [A bowler] has to bowl 24 balls [maximum of four overs per bowlers] and the batsman can get out in one ball. So you have to play your shots.
On his being a part-time bowler: If you are batsman, then if you can chip in and bowl one over, it is good for the team and Captain. Dhoni can be very good at using the part-time bowler – like Yuvraj, myself, Rohit, Virat – and give a different bowling attack to the opponent. It gives extra edge to the Captain.
The reason for Indians succeeding against Lasith Malinga: I think it’s because we have been playing a lot of matches in the IPL. We have improved against Malinga just as many foreign teams have improved against India. Lots of players from abroad, including Sri Lanka, are playing well in India and against the Indians.