He has relished the role of a finisher in one-dayers but given a chance, Suresh Raina would not mind batting higher up the order as he believes it would give him a chance to plan his innings better and make a comeback in the Indian Test fold.

“Definitely, I would like to bat higher up the order, If I am given a chance, I would like to give my 100 per cent as it will also give me an opportunity to play more overs. I have enjoyed batting at No 5, 6 or 7 where you need to bat till the finish,” Raina told mediapersons here on the eve of the fifth and final ODI against England to be played here tomorrow.

India have already pocketed the series by taking a 3-1 lead.

For someone, who has been an indispensable part in India’s ODI scheme of things, Raina has a Test average of less than 30. But the left-hander is still hopeful of making a comeback in the Test fold.

“If you talk about my Test performance, I scored a 50 in one of my last three innings. I believe that I can make a comeback in Tests,” the 26-year-old stated.

That he is eyeing a Test slot in the Australia series became evident when he stressed on the importance of doing well in the Irani Cup to be held from February 6-10.

“Yes, Irani Trophy will be very important but at this point, I want to focus on doing well in tomorrow’s match.

Although, we have won the series, it would be nice if we can finish with a 4-1 margin.”

Raina informed that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is fully fit and has recovered from his thumb injury sustained during the practice session ahead of the Mohali game.

“He has had a long session at the nets today and is available for tomorrow’s game”.

Having played a couple of matches for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, Raina has some idea about the 22-yard strip at the newest international venue but he gave a very open-ended answer when queried on the subject.

“Toss will be crucial in this game and it will be a good contest between bat and ball”.

Although he did not divulge the team combination, his statement that “you will see a new batting attack tomorrow” raised questions as to whether the bench strength would be on display.

With the change of rules in ODIs and two new balls coming into effect, the role of part-timers has increased and Raina feels that the team is on the right track.

“Myself and Rohit have always bowled a few overs and we have enjoyed the job. Joe (bowling coach Joe Dawes) has done an outstanding job with the bowlers.

“(Ravindra) Jadeja has been doing really well along with Bhuvneshwar and Shami. We have a set of 3-4 bowlers and they need to get accustomed to the new rules as only 23 months are left for the 2015 World Cup in Australia”.

Raina was all praise for the beautiful ground and the facilities provided by the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association.

“It’s one of the most beautiful ground that I have played in. The facilities are great.”

“Will you be able to spot the white ball in the background of the snow-clad mountains?” a British journalist asked in jest, he smiled and said, “That’s not a problem”.

(This article was published on January 26, 2013)
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