Suresh Raina was chosen in the T20I squad for the South Africa series after his performances in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Last time Raina played T20I for India was against England in February 2017.
Talking to BCCI.TV, Raina spoke about how he kept himself motivated throughout the year he was out of the Indian team.
Raina said, “I have worked really hard for the last two years and coming to back to the Indian team, it feels like I am playing for the first time in the Indian jersey. I am very happy to be back and I have played a good amount of domestic cricket to get myself in the zone. I am looking forward to the game tomorrow.”
“I am a very positive person,” he says. “The wait to get back into the team made me tougher and hungrier. Each and every lap I ran during training, I was only thinking about the day I will comeback and represent my country.”
“Setbacks give you lessons and they make your character stronger. When you feel things are not going your way, you still need to get your process right and work towards better things. You need to ask questions about your abilities as a cricketer and work towards getting better with each passing day. I became stronger and I have prepared really well to get back here,” Raina concluded.
Talking about the support he got from people, when he was out of the team, Raina said, “When I didn’t get a chance, I was very strong mentally and got a lot of support from my family. I got a lot of support from our Head Coach Ravi Shastri alongside with captain Virat Kohli. When someone is down, but you have people like them supporting you, it feels great. I wanted to get back to winning ways and this T20I series might well be the beginning.”
He continued, “It is very important to start well and be mentally strong. I know that I need to just switch on my mind and be mentally tough. It’s all about going out there tomorrow and giving it all. I am hungry to do well and starting off fresh in South Africa feels good since I have played enough cricket in the past here.”
For Raina, the dressing room was like home, he says, “This team is enjoying each others’ success and that makes you believe that you can win any sort of tournament anywhere in the world. I love the dressing room atmosphere and it still feels the same. And when you get a lot of support from all corners in the team, it feels great. The dressing room is bubbling with energy and now it is all about getting on the field and start off with a win.”
For Raina, it is something special to play for your country and give it all when he steps onto the field.
He says, “Whenever you represent your country, that desire is always there to perform. I am very blessed to have mad a comeback. I am getting a good feel of things at the moment. I want to win games for my country and that is my dream at the moment. I want to go out there and express myself. I have worked hard on my game and waited for my chance to come. I am confident and will make the most of it.”