New Delhi: When Suresh Raina says that he has the license to play his shots at No. 3 in T20s, he’s right on target.
The Chennai Super Kings left-hander isn’t just a proven match-winner in ODIs, but also for his franchise in IPL. The first Indian to hammer a century in T20 Internationals, Raina is the leading scorer in IPL history with a tally of 2,264 and is set to add some more against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on Wednesday. He’s currently placed second with 97 sixes in the all-time IPL list.
“I’ve practised hard over five years. My game’s quite aggressive, and I love to play my shots. In ODIs, I play at No. 6 or 7 and in T20s I’ve scored a ton at No. 3 (against South Africa at 2010 World T20 in West Indies),” Raina told MAIL TODAY. “When you play at No. 3, you get the license to play your shots. So, if I play 40-45 balls, my target is to score a 90 or a 100 or a 110. In five years, I’ve improved a lot batting at No. 6 or 7 in ODIs,” he said.
Raina, 26, is a ‘floater’ in the true sense of the term, having batted at four positions in T20 Internationals and six in ODIs. In IPL, he bats at No. 3, from where he usually dictates terms.
“I can play at any position. Most importantly, when you back your strength and improve your game, the pressure’s more on bowlers as they know that I play my shots according to the situation,” he emphasised.
“T20 is all about handling the situation, and how you enjoy the format.”
Raina owes his improved batting to long hours spent against the bowling machine in the nets in the company of Stephen Fleming, present CSK coach, and also with Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey at the crease.
“At No. 3, I’ve played with Fleming; I had lots of partnerships with Hayden; and I’ve batted a lot with Hussey. All three are world-class batsmen and left-handers."
“When you share the dressing room with such players, you come to know about their thinking and how fearlessly they bat, besides their planning and concentration,” he pointed out.
“My improved batting in T20 has helped me in international cricket too. The opponents now expect that if, say, 90 runs are required off 70 balls, Dhoni and Raina would finish the match off as we are strokeplayers and run well between wickets,” Raina said.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.