Star Chennai Super Kings batsman, Suresh Raina, reveals that he was “hurt” after he was excluded from the Indian setup even after performing well. However, with the left-hander getting another chance in the upcoming T20I series against South Africa, the southpaw is determined to prove his critics wrong.
“I was hurt on getting dropped even after performing well. But now I have cleared the Yo-Yo test and feeling so strong. During all these months of hard training, the desire to play for India again grew only so much stronger,” Raina spoke to Aaj Tak.
“I won’t leave it here. I have to play for India for as long as possible. I have to play the 2019 World Cup because I know I have done well in England. There is still a lot left in me and I am extremely confident of doing well in these three games in South Africa,” the 31-year-old added.
Suresh Raina is an experienced campaigner having 223 ODIs and 65 T20Is to his name, but he feels like a debutante again ahead of the series in South Africa.
“Yes, I am 31 but, as they say it, age is just a number. The other day when my match clothing arrived, I had the same feeling like I got before making my India debut. It is so special,” Raina added.
The CSK batsman last featured for India in the T20I series against England in February last year, scoring a good 63 in the last match of the series at Bengaluru. However, the 31-year-old could not pass the Yo-Yo test, resulting in his exclusion from the Indian squad.
“My family became my biggest strength during this trying time. I played a lot of domestic cricket and focused on clearing the Yo-Yo test too. I worked really hard on it at the NCA. I have always been fit during my entire career but it is just that at time you get down injuries or niggles and that hampered the preparation to clear the test.”
With batsmen like Dinesh Karthik, Kedhar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane and Manish Pandey trying to establish their place in Virat Kohli’s XI, Raina feels that good performances in the T20I format can lead to his inclusion in the ODI squad as well ahead of the 2019 ODI World Cup.
“If you talk about the No 4 slot in the ODIs, it is not an easy one to bat on. Most of the time the team is in a tricky situation when the No 4 comes to bat, especially while chasing. One needs to attack, change the gears constantly. I personally feel that the No 4 and 5 slot suits more to my style of batting,” Raina concluded.