Lucknow: Suresh Raina, whose century in the second ODI helped India regain their confidence back after successive defeats in Tests against England, has extensively worked hard on tackling short pitch deliveries in the hockey turf at Guru Govind Singh Sports College here, his coach Deepak Sharma said.
Sharma said before leaving for England tour, Raina sweated out on the astro-turf ground of the Guru Govind Singh Sports College to work on this grey area.
"A lot had been said about batting technique of Raina. Pacers use to bowl bouncers to get him out. Now bouncers are not unexpected for him. He understood the weakness and made special preparations to overcome. Practice on hockey ground helped him a lot," Sharma told PTI.
"Fifteen days before leaving for England, Raina came to the Sports College for practice. The college has an astroturf ground as well on which synthetic ball bounces a lot. I spent a lot of time practicising with him on the astroturf," he added.
He said that Raina practiced bouncers with a tough mental state and dedication which helped him manyfold. "Seeing his confidence I felt that something new is going to happen and now Raina has emerged as altogether a different player against short pitch balls on green tops in England," Sharma said.
In the second ODI Raina, who came to the crease when India were struggling at 2/26 runs, smashed 100 from 106 balls against a fierce English bowling attack that includes pacers like James Anderson and Steven Finn.
In the three ODIs so far, Raina has scored 142 runs in two innings at an average of 71. Besides, he has taken three wickets and equal number of catches. Sharma said Raina infused a new confidence in the squad with his attacking hundred and several new milestones are expected from him.
"As a player Raina has entered a new phase of maturity and his recent performance can earn him a chance in the Test squad. From my point of view to maintain this maturity and rhythm Raina has to maintain his natural style and avoid experimenting," he said.
"He is an attacking player and he should not change his mindset. Raina has also matured as a bowler, who read the mind of a batsman. I have always told him that your bowling will compliment your batting and fielding," he said.