New Delhi: Back to the national team after a gap of a year, middle-order batsman Suresh Raina said that he felt, “hurt” after being dropped from the team despite performing well.
But now that he is willing to make this opportunity to count, having made the cut for the upcoming T20I series against South Africa.
“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,” said Raina, in an interaction with Aaj Tak.
Brimming with confidence, he added, “I won’t leave it here. I have to play for India 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.”
A veteran of 223 ODIs and 65 T20Is, the 31-year-old felt that he feels like a debutant once again.
“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,” he said.
An aggressive batsman, Raina last featured for India in the third T20I against England last year in Bengaluru where he had scored an impressive 63. But his failure to clear the Yo-Yo test kept him out of the national side.
The Uttar Pradesh batsman recalls how his family has been a constant source of support for him in these tough times.
“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,” he said.
With the number four spot in the Indian limited overs’ sides up for grabs with the potential candidates being Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav and Ajinkya Rahane, Raina is aware of the fact a few good knocks can put him in the contention for the World Cup, scheduled to be played next year.
“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 said.