Raina opens up on MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli: The axed Indian batsman was vocal about the Indian captain and wicket-keeper batsman.
With a looming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, there is plentiful emphasis on the various permutations and combinations which all teams will be looking to apply to announce their best squad.
Talking of India, among the most-debated topic of discussion is the batting number at which former India captain and current wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni will bat.
While the veteran cricketer has mostly batted at No. 5 in the recent years, there is a school of thought which suggests him to bat at No. 4. Given his decreasing strike rate of late, there are opinions regarding his promotion in the batting order.
Axed India batsman Suresh Raina, who has alongside Dhoni for both India and Chennai Super Kings for more than a decade now, has recently opined on the same. Talking about the same in a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Raina laid emphasis on Dhoni being a keen reader of the game.
“For MS [Dhoni], the ideal position would be number five or six. He is such a keen reader of the game and brings years of experience. When required he can build up an innings and his finishing skills are unmatched,” Raina was quoted as saying.
Raina opines on Kohli’s batting position
It is both strange and ironical that there have been more than just murmurs regarding the batting number of India captain Virat Kohli as well. Thinking of changing the batting position of arguably the best ODI batsman in the world, let alone only considering batsmen who bat at No. 3, sounds peculiar.
However, if taken, it will be a decision which will go down under the category of “for the sake of team”. It is worth mentioning that all of this had started after India coach Ravi Shastri made public the idea of demoting Kohli down the order after India defeated New Zealand 4-1 in the five-match ODI series last month.
Hailing the coach’s opinion as a “wonderful thought”, chief selector MSK Prasad had also expressed approval of Kohli batting at No. 4 during the world event. Speaking during the pre-series press conference at Hyderabad on Friday, Kohli himself said that he would be “more than happy” to bat where the team requires him to.
“I think number three or four should be good [for Kohli]. If the top order topples quickly, we need someone like Kohli to keep it together,” Raina voiced his opinion about the Indian captain.
“The most balanced team will win the World Cup”
Raina, who last played for India during the tour of England last year, backed the “most balanced team” to take home the World Cup. “For me the most balanced team will win the World Cup. English conditions are helpful for the seamers but in the recent years we have seen spinners also do well,” he added.
Reflecting upon his time in England, the 32-year old cricketer also talked about the Indian wrist-spinners doing well in English conditions. Moreover, he also appreciated the Indian fast bowling unit.
“Last year when I was playing against Ireland and England, our wrist spinners did really well. Team India is shaping up really well in this regard, a healthy mix of youth and experience. And a pace attack that is bowling beautifully in all conditions. No grey areas as such,” Raina further added.
How Twitter reacted
#haveyoursay It’s high time dhoni gets his batting position fixed
— AKSHET MOHANKA (@AKSHETM) March 5, 2019
— Navsnaveeen p (@Itsnavs) March 5, 2019
Why dhoni is not given batting at his position of no.4 #ask the expert
— Kamal Nayan (@KamalNa22166695) March 5, 2019
@BCCI what’s happening Indian team management why they are changing Dhoni batting position
— i am abeeth (@amABEETH) March 5, 2019
Raina preparing for comeback
Raina will be looking forward to the 12th season of the Indian Premier League to press his case for the World Cup. Talking about his preparation for the same, the southpaw highlighted him sweating it out in training and the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
“I have a mix of activities that I do, I am currently doing a lot of high intensity workouts in the gym, followed by strength and conditioning sessions.
“I’m at the nets three-four times a week. The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy [India’s domestic T20 competition] has given me some match practise before the IPL. As an Indian player my job is to work hard and hope for the best,” Raina concluded.