Cricket

'I can be the No 4 for India', feels Suresh Raina as he set sights on 2020 and 2021 T20 World Cups

Raina, who last played international cricket in July 2018, is targeting a return to the Indian side for the 2020 and 2021 T20 World Cups.

'I can be the No 4 for India', feels Suresh Raina as he set sights on 2020 and 2021 T20 World Cups

Suresh Raina believes he could be the answer for India's long-standing issue of a reliable batsman at No 4 position. Raina, who last played international cricket in July 2018, is targeting a return to the Indian side for the 2020 and 2021 T20 World Cups.

"I can be the No. 4 for India," Raina told Sportstar. "I have batted in that slot before and delivered. I am looking forward to an opportunity with two T20 World Cups coming up."

The 32-year-old, who is recovering from a knee injury, said he expects to be back in action from November.

File image of Suresh Raina. Reuters

File image of Suresh Raina. Reuters

"Basically my left knee was cleaned up. I expect to be back playing in November," Raina said.

The Indian team has tried and experimented several candidates for the No 4 slot in ODIs before the ICC World Cup in England and eventually settled for Vijay Shankar for the marquee tournament, but a foot injury saw his ouster and young Rishabh Pant was called in to take the spot.

The dynamic left-hander wasn't quite able to seize the spot, as India, one of the two pre-tournament favourites, lost their semi-final against New Zealand.

The No 4 conundrum soon spilled over from ODIs to T20Is. With the World Cup of the shortest format just over a year away, the 2007 champions will be eager to find a permanent fix to the problem.

Pant, who has batted at the two-down spot in the recently-concluded T20I series against South Africa, scored 19 and 4 in the two outings and copped heavy criticism.

The experienced Raina, who has 1605 runs in 78 T20Is, wants to be a part of the contention for the position. Raina feels that Pant requires guidance and backed the youngster to play his brand of cricket.

“He appears confused, is not playing his natural game. He is looking for singles, blocking, and appears lost," said Raina. "Someone needs to talk to him as MS Dhoni would do to players. Cricket is a mental game and Pant has to be backed to play his attacking brand of cricket. Right now he seems to be playing under instructions and it is not working."

Raina also reckoned that Dhoni is still an 'asset' to India and plenty to offer.

"He is still fit, still a terrific wicket-keeper and still the greatest finisher in the game. Dhoni will be an asset to India in the T20 World Cup. Only Dhoni will decide when he leaves the game."

Updated Date: September 27, 2019 12:37:55 IST

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