World Cup 2019: Dhoni is important for Kohli; Hardik Pandya being Man of the Tournament would not be a surprise, says Suresh Raina
- Suresh Raina is confident of India's chances in the World Cup under Virat Kohli and thinks MS Dhoni remains a crucial player in the side
What's the story?
Suresh Raina, who played for more than a decade under the captaincy of MS Dhoni for Team India and Chennai Super Kings, has hailed the 37-year-old's captaincy, and said that he wouldn't be surprised if Hardik Pandya ends up as the Man of the Tournament at 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
The southpaw is currently holidaying in the Netherlands and in an interview with PTI, opened up about Dhoni's captaincy, the importance of the World Cup for Virat Kohli and India's chances in the mega event.
In case you didn't know
The Indian team management and Virat Kohli have reiterated time and again, the importance of Dhoni in the Indian team.
Kohli has clearly benefitted from Dhoni's experience and the equation that the two share has brought rich rewards for Team India.
Heart of the matter
Dhoni's long-time teammate Raina said, "On paper he's not the captain. On the ground he's the captain for Virat, I think."
Raina added, "His role is still the same. He communicates with the bowlers from behind the stumps, coordinates the field placements. He's the captain of the captains. Virat feels confident when Dhoni is behind the stumps. He has always acknowledged that."
Raina feels that this is going to be an important tournament for the Indian captain.
"He is a confident player, captain and a team player. It's a very big World Cup for him. He knows his role well. He needs to give confidence to his players. Everything looks in our favour. Intent has to be positive. This is the best team to win the World Cup," Raina said.
Raina also talked about Hardik Pandya's role in the Indian team.
"He can field and bat well, can bowl 6-7 crucial overs. He can bat anywhere. He needs to get a lot of confidence from the management to express himself. If he can take his IPL confidence to the World Cup, he will be our game changer. I think he will be the most important player for India in this World Cup. I won't be surprised if he gets the Man of the Tournament, should we make the last four," Raina, who was part of India's World Cup winning squad in 2011, said.
Raina is confident of India's chances in the tournament. Raina said, "India will make it to the semifinal, no matter what. We have nine matches in the league. There is a lot of time to think about the combinations. It's very important to start well. Then, no one can stop us. When everyone is tagging you as favourites, you need to express yourself.".
The Men in Blue will play their second warm-up game against Bangladesh on Tuesday. India will begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa on 5th June.
Also read - Cricket world cup winners captains listPublished 28 May 2019, 13:10 IST