Suresh Raina aims to seal spot in India team through T20I show

Cape Town: Middle-order batsman Suresh Raina, who marked his comeback in India squad in the ongoing T20I series against South Africa, is looking forward to cement his spot in the team ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Raina returned to the squad after he last played in the shortest format for India in February last year while he last played an ODI in July 2015.

The veteran has since struggled to get back into the side because of both form and fitness issues.

“It is important to win a trophy first and important to go out there as a team mindset. If you see the top order, they are all batting well. When you come to the middle order, MS (Dhoni) is there and Manish (Pandey) is also doing a good job,” Raina told reporters ahead of the third T20I match against South Africa.

He added, “So we will see where I can fit in. There are a lot of matches coming up now. Winning games is more important than being which format I am playing or not. Every Indian game is very important for me right now.”

The left-hand batsman has played in the top order in the Indian Premier Leagues, but came into an India team where the top three spots were taken by Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Virat Kohli.

However, the skipper dropped himself to number four to give Raina a chance to bat on third place.

“It is important (to attack). Virat (Kohli) showed that faith in me. In the last two games we have dominated in the first six overs. It is very important to play well in the first six overs,” Raina said.

India are currently levelled at 1-1 in the series with the decider game to be played here on Saturday.

Raina stressed that the team will look to go aggressive once again in the third match against the hosts to finish the tour on high.

“We have spoken about it in the team meeting as well. When you have been doing well in every game, then you need to finish well too. That is what Virat is all about. He never takes things easier, and on top of that you have MS and Ravi (Shastri) bhai who also give their inputs to the players,” he said.

“Virat has led the team well. We did well in Tests and won the ODI series. Dressing room is such that everyone is enjoying this success and the process is such that everyone is giving their inputs to Ravi bhai.”

Taking about the 2019 World Cup, he said that there is long road the team has to cover ahead of the tournament.

“I think it is a long road to the World Cup from here on. First we have the tri series in Sri Lanka, then we have the IPL, so we need to keep fresh, keep winning and doing the right processes,” the occasional off-spinner said.

“Closer to the World Cup we will be able to tell where we are going. It is important to stay in present and look to win each and every game,” Raina added.