New Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) Having batsmen who can fill-in as part-time bowlers is important as it gives a captain options, according to veteran batsman Suresh Raina. Raina, who himself is a handy off-spinner and was someone former India captain MS Dhoni turned to occasionally while playing for the national team, said that his bowling abilities developed in the local tournaments he played, before playing professional cricket, in which players needed to do a everything.
“It is very important for a batsman to bowl and a bowler to bat, it is always useful for the team,” Raina said at the launch of the FrontRow app. “It is very important for any captain that a batsman chips in with 4-5 overs and just slows the proceedings before your best bowler is back in the attack.”
Raina, 34, was a regular in an Indian team that contained part-time bowlers like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, who all chipped in with important wickets in addition to fulfilling their primary task of scoring runs. Yuvraj ended up being India’s second highest wicket-taker in their victorious World Cup campaign in 2011, in addition to scoring 362 runs in just eight innings.
“Sachin paaji bowled, Viru bhai took a lot of wickets. Yuvi paaji helped us win the World Cup with the momentum,” Raina said.
“When we used to play tournaments in the villages, to be in the team, we had to bowl alongside batting otherwise we weren’t selected. Fielding had to be good as we didn’t know if we’d get a chance to bat or not. Bowling is arduous, no one likes to do it. But then the captain gets a choice that this player can bowl.”