Raina ready to lead
Stand-in captain Suresh Raina believes his young India team will have to work hard for success on the tour of Zimbabwe.
Last Updated: 24/05/10 1:44pm
Stand-in captain Suresh Raina has urged his young India team to bounce back from their ICC World Twenty20 disappointment during the forthcoming tour of Zimbabwe.
India crashed out of the World T20 in the Super Eights and have decided to rest a host of senior players for the Zimbabwe trip.
Raina is deputising for regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, while Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan are among those remaining at home.
The tour comprises a one-day triangular series with Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, followed by two T20 internationals against Zimbabwe.
"We want the World Twenty20 disappointment to quickly become a thing of the past," said Raina.
"The Zimbabwe tour will be an opportunity to learn and press for a regular berth in the ODIs and stake a claim at the highest level - Test cricket."
Raina knows his largely inexperienced side will have to work hard to achieve success.
He added: "Our biggest challenge is to try and win every game. But I will not put myself or my team under excessive pressure.
"I realise one has to be disciplined and one must follow the process. The players are very eager and committed to make a mark.
"We have a very good chance in the tri-series. The players are keen to do well. At some level or the other, I've played with all those who've been selected in Under-19, India A and India. I know them and they know me."
Taking tips from his mentors Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly, Raina feels the most important aspect of being a good captain is earning his team's respect.
"I've learnt from Dada (Ganguly) and Mahi (Dhoni)," he explained. "A good captain is somebody who gets the team to bond together, somebody who is able to communicate.
"Somebody who has the respect of his players. That's very important."
Raina, 23, has plenty of limited-overs experience - 90 ODIs and 16 T20Is - but has yet to play a Test.
"I was in the squad for the last Test against South Africa at the Eden Gardens in February," he said. "I didn't get to play, but felt I'd scored a hundred after our win.
"I can only work hard. Test cricket is a great form and the biggest performers get so much respect. Sure, there's something to look forward to."