After been left out of the squad when India last played in ODI format with full-strength side, Suresh Raina came into the ODI series in England with questions over his place but his counterattacking hundred in the second ODI against England, his first outside Asia and his first since Jan 2010, proved that he is in the race for middle-order position.

Raina was very much pleased with his effort as it his knock came after India’s poor run in the Test series, where India lost the series 3 down to 1. “This knock is one of the most special ones for me given the circumstances and the conditions,” told Raina. “We hadn’t won the game in a long time and to help the team break that jinx with a century was very satisfying.

Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane began India’s recovery after a poor start which India have been seeing throughout the tour, but it was Raina’s century off 74 deliveries powered India towards a 300-plus total. “After I got my fifty, I got a bit conscious [about the score] because I hadn’t scored a century since a long time and I wanted to finish well,” he said.

Rohit also got out after his fifty and I was determined to carry on till the end. So I played khadoos (doggedly) for a while. After a while I started to play my shots, which did disturb the bowlers’ rhythm. They struggled with their field placements and bowling areas. That’s when I knew that I was dominating them and was thinking one step ahead of them.” Raina said.

Raina said the team environment was “very good” and also Shastri‘s appointment was already proved him beneficial.

Ravi Shastri gave us a lot of confidence,” Raina said. “He came to the team meeting and said a few words to the team which were very inspiring. He was also sitting with me in the bus when we were on our way to the stadium and he told me, ‘khadoos khelna hai (play a stubborn game)’. There is a different comfort level when you talk to a former Indian player; you can be free and honest. All the other coaches have been very supportive as well but Ravi Shastri set the tone for us and instilled confidence in the team.

Raina credited Sachin Tendulkar and former India batsman Pravin Amre as the training he did in Mumbai with them who worked closely with several other Indian batsmen including Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane had benfited him. “After all the work I had put into my game in Mumbai with Sachin paaji and Amre sir, I was determined to join the team and bring them some happiness, whether it is by scoring a hundred or taking a brilliant catch. I had to bring the smiles back on my teammates’ faces. I am glad I could do that today.

Interview from -> BCCI.TV

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