Raina, Bhuvi Exude Confidence After Successful Show in S Africa 

Raina and Bhuvneshwar were adjudged  Man of the Match and Man of the Series repectively

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Cricket
4 min read

Indian batsman Suresh Raina is quite optimistic about continuing his stellar show in the T20I against South Africa in the upcoming tournaments, including the IPL, in his bid to make a comeback into the ODI squad.

Raina hit 43 off 27 balls and took one wicket for 27 runs in three overs in an all-round display to help India beat South Africa by seven runs in the third T20I in Cape Town on Saturday to clinch the series 2-1.

“This moment (comeback) is very important for me. From here on we will play in Sri Lanka and then IPL. We have a lot of matches coming up. I have been part of the World Cup before and I have won the World Cup before in 2011. It was my first World Cup and we won the trophy. That was an unbelievable feeling,” Raina said.

"Coming back to ODIs, I have done well at No. 5. It is just a matter of couple more games and I think I can show that I can definitely come back in the ODIs too soon," added Raina who was adjudged man of the match.

Raina last played in an ODI in October 2015 against South Africa in Mumbai. Before this T20I series, Raina’s last appearance in the shortest format in India colours was in February last year.

The 31-year-old left handed batsman said the Indian team was a confident bunch of players, which was reflected by the results.

“The way we played in Tests and ODIs, it showed what we can achieve as a team in South Africa. No team has ever done it before. That confidence in the dressing room gave us license to enjoy ourselves on the ground and express ourselves. That's why we won this game. We bowled beautifully in the first six overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya did well,”he said.

He said he has benefitted immensely from the promotion to number 3 position, especially with Virat Kohli himself moving down to number 4. The skipper was absent from the final T20I match owing to a stiff back.

The way Virat led the team in last two and a half months, he showed he cares about each and every person. Batting at No. 3, he has done brilliantly in T20 cricket, but he gave me that license to go after the bowlers and attack. He showed the faith in me.
Suresh Raina

Meanwhile, Indian speedster Bhuvneshwar Kumar feels the Indian team's baptism by fire during the tour of South Africa augurs well for the tougher assignments against England and Australia later this year

After starting the tour with a narrow 1-2 loss in the Tests, India ended the bilateral series on a high after notching up a thrilling seven run win in the third T20 International yesterday for a 2-1 result. The visitors had also recorded a dominating 5-1 win series win in the one-dayers.

We don’t want to be too greedy and we are happy with these two trophies. Hopefully next time we will win all the three trophies
Bhuvneshwar Kumar

“This tour has been brilliant, particularly talking about Test series. Yes we lost two matches, but they were very close. We could have also lost 3-0 or won 2-1 instead. But it gives us confidence in whatever way we have played, and we are ready to go to England and Australia, and do better there,” added Kumar, who was awarded the Man of the Series.

Kumar said variations and timing were key to his success in T20 cricket.

“T20 cricket is all about using variations and timing has to be perfect. Whatever knuckle ball I have bowled, I wanted batsmen to go after that. That way you can get wickets and that's one of the main reasons why I have been successful in power plays,” he said.

Throughout the tour, Kumar has been the standout bowler for India, but pacer didn't take any credit and attributed his success to the entire bowling unit.

“When bowling, I don't think I am the leader. Instead whenever anyone is bowling in this team, he thinks he is the leader. Then only we can win matches. Individually you need to have a brilliant day to take 10 wickets on your own. Mostly you can take only 4-5 wickets. So it's about partnerships and hunting in the pack. That's what cricket is about whether batting or bowling,” said Kumar.

When asked about his omission from the second Test, Kumar brushed it off in jest, instead choosing to revel in the present moment.

I don’t know about that (not playing in second Test at Centurion). I don’t want to go back to the Tests, or why I didn’t play. It’s all about team effort. If you talk about that match, there were bowlers who could bowl brilliantly in those conditions
Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Talking about bowling to new faces in the South African team, Kumar said, “Heinrich Klaasen is an amazing player given the way he batted in the last two matches and in the ODIs also. They are very good players. When you play against new players, you don't know what their strengths are, especially Christiaan Jonker, we didn't know what he does. It is never easy to play first match against any player. They are new players but I think we bowled well to get them out.”

Indian bowlers picked all 60 wickets on tough surfaces during their narrow 1-2 loss in Tests and Kumar hoped they can dominate the longer format of the game when they tour South Africa next.

“Of course, we want to win the Test series (here in South Africa next time) but it won't be easy. We have done well this time but there is no guarantee that it will be the same next time. We might win all the three series but we might lose all. When we come again we will start afresh,” he signed off.

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