Suresh Raina made his Indian team comeback after a year out of contention. He had to perform on a consistent basis in domestic circuit to bring himself in contention for the national team selection. Raina says he wants to cement his place in the ODI team ahead of the 2019 World Cup and will use the T20I series as a stepping stone.
Raina said, "It is important to win a trophy first and important to go out there as a team mindset. If you see the top order, they are all batting well. When you come to the middle order, MS (Dhoni) is there and Manish (Pandey) is also doing a good job.”
"So we will see where I can fit in. There are a lot of matches coming up now. Winning games is more important than being which format I am playing or not. Every Indian game is very important for me right now," said Raina.
Raina had missed the series against Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Australia due to his form and fitness issues, before getting himself back in shape and scoring some big runs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy.
He said, “I always play for the team and if we are winning trophies, individual performances will look after themselves. Whatever opportunity I get I look to play my natural game. I enjoy the team support and it helps improve my game."
Raina further said, “We have spoken about it in the team meeting as well. When you have been doing well in every game, then you need to finish well too. That is what Virat is all about. He never takes things easier, and on top of that you have MS and Ravi (Shastri) bhai who also give their inputs to the players.”
"Virat has led the team well. We did well in Tests and won the ODI series. Dressing room is such that every one is enjoying this success and the process is such that everyone is giving their inputs to Ravi bhai," Raina said.
Raina also spoke about the road to World Cup 2019, saying "I think it is a long road to the World Cup from here on. First we have the tri series in Sri Lanka, then we have the IPL, so we need to keep fresh, keep winning and doing the right processes. Closer to the World Cup we will be able to tell where we are going. It is important to stay in present and look to win each and every game."
Raina also gave his thoughts on the final T20I to be played in Cape Town.
"150 is the average score here. We will have to see what the wicket is like and decide our plans afterwards. It is just tomorrows game we have to concentrate on bat well in the first six, finish well, bowl and field well. Take whatever opportunity comes our way. Definitely we want to win that match tomorrow. Both teams look good so God willing we will do well tomorrow. It will be a good game," he signed off.
(With inputs from PTI)