Armed with a timely fifty against New Zealand on Saturday, India’s Suresh Raina said he had felt no pressure to perform when walking out to bat here despite a disappointing tour of England.
Making a comeback to the Test side after being dropped for the Australia tour, he said: “There was no pressure, I have done well in domestic cricket and ODIs. I looked to enjoy the game. I didn’t enjoy the England tour much, getting out to Graeme Swann four times.
“But I returned to domestic cricket and scored a double hundred (against Punjab in November 2011), then played crucial knocks in the ODIs against Sri Lanka, and did well in the IPL.”
The left-hander said he was keen on cementing his spot in the Test squad with big runs. “Test cricket is what I want to play. This is a good opportunity to maintain my place in the team, score a lot of runs and move forward as several Tests are coming up in India and abroad,” he said.
Raina added that Virat Kohli advised him not to “hit three or four big fours and sixes against Jeetan Patel because they (New Zealand) would remove him from the attack” when they were batting together, suggesting that the duo preferred the spinner to pace.
Tim Southee picked up three of the five Indian wickets to fall today, and is focused on the job ahead.
“It depends on how quickly we get these last few wickets. If we put some runs on the board after picking up some wickets tomorrow without too much damage, then we’re right in it,” he said.
Asked if his team’s bowling lost bite later in the day, letting India off the hook from 80 for four, Southee replied: “No, we were still creating chances and getting edges.
“I guess we didn’t build enough pressure through dot balls. The ball got a bit old and wasn’t carrying. I thought we bowled well. It just gets easier to bat as the ball gets older.”
At the end of the press conference, Raina informed the media that Pragyan Ojha dedicates his 5-wicket haul to statemate and former India batsman VVS Laxman. Raina made sure to expand the stylist's initials as ‘very very special’.
*The report was corrected for an error.