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Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina

Special Correspondent

Mumbai: Suresh Raina, leading a youthful team to Zimbabwe, is aware of the task ahead. “Some days you get your shots right, some days you don't. We are the No. 1 Test team and No. 2 in one-dayers,” he pointed out during a media briefing on Tuesday.

He sounded confident of the Indians' ability to make the most of conditions in Zimbabwe on a busy tour, which includes a tri-series (with Sri Lanka being the third team), apart from two T20 Internationals against the host.

He fended off queries about the Indian batsmen's shortcomings when facing short-pitched stuff. “In T20 you have to smack every ball from the start, but in the 50-over format, you have to hold back a bit. We have players who have done well in ODIs and Tests.”

Keeping it simple

Raina, who is following M.S. Dhoni's dictum on captaincy, said “leading India has been my dream. It also means added responsibility. I have played under Ganguly, Dravid and Dhoni. I spoke to Dhoni, he just asked me to keep it simple. Sachin (Tendulkar) always says, ‘if you stay humble you'll achieve all that you want.'”

After having played in different batting positions, the left-hander hopes to get a fixed slot now. “I will speak to the coach about the line-up. I will try to bat up the order, but all that will depend on the situation there,” he said.

On the bowlers, Raina remarked: “We have some good medium pacers in Vinay Kumar, Ashok Dinda and Umesh Yadav who performed in domestic cricket and earned their place in the side. The wickets in Zimbabwe will help them prove themselves once more,” said Raina. “Performance for India counts. If you deliver, chances will come.”

Supporting teammates

He supported the players who were issued show cause notices after the T20 World Cup. “They will do well,” he said, denying that IPL parties had a bearing on India's below par showing in the West Indies.

“Everyone wants to party, but you know your body. When you are playing for the country, dedication and responsibility takes over.”

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