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Indian team will need to play a very strong bowling lineup to defend any sort of total in the World Cup, says Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina, the former India cricketer who was a member of the 2011 ODI World Cup winning squad, feels that the current team needs to play a very strong bowling line-up in its upcoming ODI series against Australia for getting the confidence to defend any total in next month’s showpiece event.

Ahead of the marquee Men’s ODI World Cup, India and Australia will be playing in a three-game 50-over series to be played in Mohali, Indore, and Rajkot on September 22, 24 and 27 respectively.

“The Indore ground is very small, and Rajkot has a flat track. Also, the Australian side has played a lot in Mohali and hence I believe they will have an upper hand. In these small grounds, even scores of 340-350 will be chaseable and the Indian team will need to play a very strong bowling lineup to defend any sort of total in the World Cup,” said Raina on JioCinema.

Raina also feels that Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami hold the key with the ball, so as Ravindra Jadeja, especially with Australia having many left-handed batters. “Yes, they have a lot of left-right combinations in the batting order. For me, Shardul Thakur will be the X-factor. Definitely, Mohammed Shami.”

“I would pick Shami because he has the skill of swinging his deliveries and bowling yorkers. The Australian side has a lot of left-handers, and it will be interesting to see if Ravindra Jadeja manages to take wickets.”

Asked on his key players for the series, Raina said, “Rohit Sharma will score the most runs during the series. In terms of wickets, Josh Hazlewood will be the pick of the bowlers from Australia. For India, it will be either Mohammed Shami or Kuldeep Yadav.”

Raina, the former left-handed batter who chipped in with handy off-spin, feels that series against Australia will be crucial for players to put their hand up in bailing the team out of tough situations during the series.

“More than the result, whether it is a win by 3-0 or losing 3-0, I think what is more important is for the team to go through as many tests as possible because the only thing that matters is the World Cup. Also, what matters is which players you believe in because, during the World Cup, situations will arise where you’ll have to plan accordingly.”

“Like Shardul needs to bowl now like Zaheer Khan did in the 2011 World Cup with his knuckleball or how Yuvraj Singh came out to win Player of the Tournament and how Dhoni went and batted in the Final. Every player has a different character. I want if a tough situation arises and the captain has to choose, I want all 11 players to raise their hand and say, ‘Let me do the job for the country.”

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