Former India batter Suresh Raina has said that winning the World Test Championship final will surely boost India's morale for the ODI World Cup, which the country will host in October-November.
India sealed their place in the ICC World Test Championship Final 2023 by virtue of Sri Lanka's dramatic last-over defeat against New Zealand and a drawn final Test in the Border Gavaskar Trophy, confirming a mouth-watering match-up with Australia for the Ultimate Test at the Oval from June 7 to 11.
Speaking about India's entry into the WTC final and the chances for the team on the sidelines of the Legends League Cricket (LLC) competition, Raina said: "Look at Virat Kohli; he has just scored a hundred. We were talking about turning tracks, and we saw how well they can play on any track. I would say, Virat, Rohit, and Shubman Gill - he just got one opportunity and he scored a hundred."
"I think the WTC Final is going to be really interesting this time. We have good top-five batters who know how to score runs and Rohit is leading the team brilliantly and scored a brilliant hundred on a turning track. I was also very impressed with KS Bharat, he kept well on a turning track, where it was really difficult. Ishan Kishan is also there.
"I am very sure that planning is already on about how can we give rest to these players in between IPL and also ensure that they are in prime condition. If we win the WTC final, it will surely be a morale booster for the 50-over World Cup later in the year."
Also read | I think Suryakumar Yadav should play in all three formats: Suresh Raina
Raina also spoke about what it means to be a big-match player, especially in major ICC tournaments and said that it is all about the mindset of the player that how he wants to perform for the country.
"In a big match, either your top-five batters or top-five bowlers should step up. One of them, for sure, needs to take responsibility. If you remember the World Cup, how Yuvraj played throughout the tournament and in the final, and how Gambhir stepped up, MS wasn't scoring many runs during the whole tournament, but he came to the party in the final. It is all about your mindset, your hunger, and how you want to perform for your country, and we do have such players," Raina said.
"I believe it's just been unfortunate for us that it has been a bit long since a major trophy. I believe the team is already working towards identifying areas for improvement. We have a very strong pipeline of players now; injuries have to be monitored; and if we win this World Cup, we will certainly be in a dominant position in world cricket," he added.
Often regarded as one of the greatest T20 players for India, Raina is currently playing for the India Maharajas in the LLC Masters.
Maharajas have come close to winning twice, and once they have shown what they are capable of. But after the loss to the World Giants on Wednesday, it is the last chance for the Maharajas to make it to the final as they face the Asia Lions in the eliminator match on Saturday at the Asian Town Cricket Stadium in Doha.
Speaking about the performance in the match against the World Giants, Raina said: "I think we didn't bowl well in the powerplay, but we came back really strongly later. Probably, I would say we could have scored a little more, I would say we were 15-20 runs short. The wicket was pretty slow, and it was very challenging for the batters to rotate the strike.
Also read | Suresh Raina, RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Aakash Chopra headline SA20 Experts Panel on Viacom18
"I think we need to step up in the next game. Now we are in a do-or-die situation, it will be our last game if we win, and then we will qualify. How we make a comeback is going to be pretty exciting."
On being asked about his close friend and former India captain, MS Dhoni, and whether this will be his final domestic T20 season, Raina opined that "I strongly believe that he will play at least another season. He is looking strong and batting really well."
"With people like Jadeja, Ben Stokes, Ruturaj, Devon Conway, and even Chahar, who will make a comeback from his injury, I would say that playing at home will be really interesting. A couple of players have already played there, and Rayudu is also batting really well. I want to wish him luck and hope they do well," he added.