Friday Jun 14, 2024
Friday Jun 14, 2024

Raina Applauds Kohli's Matchday Warrior Spirit

2023 Oct 14, 15:01, Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India]
Image: ANI

Former Indian middle-order batter Suresh Raina appreciated batter Virat Kohli's mental switch during matches, saying that he switches on "like a pro fighter."

India is taking on arch-rivals Pakistan at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday. To keep India's winning streak in 50-over WCs alive, a lot will rest on Virat's experienced shoulders.

"India against Pakistan is a game like no other, and once more, the eyes of the world will be centred around what is sure to be another thrilling encounter between these two rivals," said Raina in his exclusive column as quoted by ICC.

Raina said that challenge for India will be to handle pressure.

"When we play against Pakistan, we know how big the occasion is, lots of celebrities turn up and they will be playing in front of 120,000 people in Ahmedabad. It is always an amazing spectacle and this will be no different," he added.

Raina said that both teams look confident with two wins under their belt and this sets up for a perfect game.

He adviced India to play as normally as they can, saying that they know how to cope with pressure since Men in Blue have won all seven games against Pakistan in WC.

Raina said that Virat's love for big matches will be good for India.

"The good thing for India is that Virat Kohli loves the big occasion. Whenever Pakistan come, he wants to be the hero, he wants to be the man of the moment. It is why we call him the King of the Chase," he said.

"He thrives in this arena because there is a lot of pressure on him. He says it's just another game but he prepares himself very differently. He listens to a lot of Punjabi music, he loves to mingle around with the boys. And when the match starts, he switches on like a pro fighter," he added.

Raina said that it is good to see Jasprit Bumrah bowling well with great pace and swinging with fhe new ball.

"But the best thing about him is that he is finishing ten overs. We have seen that in the Asia Cup and we have seen that against Australia. He is enjoying his run-up. He is a local boy, he is from Ahmedabad so he will also enjoy the pressure," he added.

Raina said that India should not forget Pakistan's great pace battery.

"Shaheen Shah Afridi is looking good and he will swing the ball up front. The openers have to bat really carefully against him," he said.

Pathan said that with Rohit in form, the key will be Indian openers playing well against pacers.

Another thing that Raina thinks is advantageous for India is their spin department, with powerhouses like Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav.

"We saw in the Asia Cup that Pakistan struggled to deal with them, and between Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, along with maybe R Ashwin, India possess a lots of threats," he said.

Raina also said that Babar Azam will have to hit big for a win.

"Pakistan have struggled a bit at the top of the order, especially Imam-ul-Haq, although Abdullah Shafique is playing well. Realistically, they need a big performance from Babar Azam if they are to get a win," said Raina.

Raina highlighted the importance of India continously making pressure on Pakistan and never giving them a chance to fightback. He also recalled playing with Virat in 2011 and 2015 World Cup matches against Pakistan.

"The other key is playing the situation of the match. I remember in 2011 in the semi-finals, I came in with the score at 187 for five and had to bat with the tail. That day, I knew that I could not focus on all the expectations and just had to play what was in front of us," Raina recalled.

"Four years later (in 2015), I came and joined Virat in the middle and were able to bat together for 15 overs and put on 100. That is important in this match, put on those partnerships of 10 to 15 overs and you can put all the pressure on Pakistan," Raina concluded his point.

Raina on concluding note said that India has a better chance of winning because it has proven that it can handle the tension, but with the world watching it play Pakistan at home, there will be a lot of pressure.

India won the toss and opted to bowl first at Ahmedabad.

India (Playing XI): Rohit Sharma(c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul(w), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj

Pakistan (Playing XI): Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf.


Suresh Raina suresh raina virat kohli Virat Kohli suresh raina india pakistan world cup india pakistan cricket world cup India-Pakistan ICC Cricket World Cup Jasprit Bumrah
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