Make-or-break phase for me: Raina
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Your two 80-plus knocks in Mohali and Dharamsala during the England ODIs must have been really satisfying.
I was very positive and confident about my game against England. I knew that I needed to do well in order to make the cut for the Test side. I had set a goal for myself and was happy to have achieved that.
Do you agree that you are just one good knock away from reclaiming the No. 6 slot in the Tests?
Definitely. I think the Irani Cup match will be quite crucial for me. I have worked hard on my game for the last six to seven months. I had long conversations with coach Praveen Amre. Today I met him again and we chatted. I just need to peak at the right time and stay focused.
Do you think that you need an image makeover as many perceive you as a shorter-version specialist?
I don't think much about that. I just know that I need to pump hard and keep performing in every format of the game. I have got to play in 17 Test matches, I think I have done well. I think I have always been keen to learn.
In this Irani game, do you think, it will be more about the number of balls you face and the kind of strokes you play and not really about the the runs you score?
During the time I was not in the Test team, I had been playing for Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy. It is not that I have not spent time in the middle during the longer version of the game. I am aware that I need to stay at the wicket for longer periods. Players like Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden have been successful in all formats and they were brilliant stroke makers.
With a century on debut, you began really well in Tests. What went wrong?
It is not that I lost my way. I know that next 2 to 3 months will be like make-or-break for me. I am craving to wear the Test whites again.
Former India coach Gary Kirsten played a key role in guiding you during his stint. What about Duncan Fletcher?
Gary was the most important person in my life. He not only raised the bar of my game but also made me a humble person. I think under his stint, I scored the most runs at number 3 position in ODIs. Ahead of the 2011 World Cup, he told me that I could be the game changer for India. That confidence helped me do well. Duncan has been with the team for almost over a year now. He is getting used to the team. I do talk to him about my game. I hope to spend more time with him in the future.
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