Suresh Raina considers Chennai as his second home, and rightly so. He represented Chennai Super Kings on 132 occasions since 2008 and played many matchwinning innings. The 29-year-old, who was here to support the ongoing Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) on Monday evening, spoke on what it takes to be a T20 specialist, on playing Duleep Trophy under lights, how fatherhood has changed him and more. Excerpts:
What according to you makes for a consistent T20 player?
I think one needs to work really hard and there is no substitute to that. Also, one needs to understand his game well. There are many who would say that all you need is just need one good season to make a mark, but you have to be consistent and play well each season. T20 is a format which requires a player to constantly work hard on his game.
What has been the secret of your fielding brilliance?
Fielding is one area where you must expect the ball to come to you all the time. One must relish fielding in order to be good at it. I have always enjoyed my fielding drills and have always looked to improve myself on the field. Be it taking catches or effecting those run-outs, the more you work hard–the better you are going to get.
What’s the one aspect of your game which needs improvement?
See I come at No 6 in the batting order usually and it’s very difficult. In IPL, I usually bat at the No. 3 and make a lot of runs. I have also won a lot of games for India com ing in at No 6.
If I get more overs, I feel I can score big like the 90 off 101 deliveries I made for India Green in the second innings against India Red (in the Duleep Trophy match) a few days ago.
In that innings, I was batting with the tailenders and I was happy to score under lights. I am beginning to find form and hopefully with a lot of Tests coming up this season—I hope to make the (Test) team.
Talk us about the Duleep Trophy experience under lights…
I think it was a great one. Playing under lights and with the pink ball was a challenge and I am sure the players would get used to it with time. But I believe it’s a good move to have the tournament under lights.
What do you make of domestic T20 leagues such as the TNPL?
It definitely is a fantastic tournament and you would see a few cricketers from TNPL who are going to play in the IPL next year. These tournaments provide a platform for players to showcase their skill set and soak in the pressure of playing in front of a capacity crowd. With the tournament being telecast live–it’s a big plus as youngsters watching will be motivated to take up this sport.
How has fatherhood changed you?
(Smiles) It’s been a surreal experience and I forget everything when I see my daughter around. Her mother (wife Priyanka) does a lot of sacrifices for her and I make sure to be by her side all the time.