T20 World Cup 2021: “Do it for Virat Kohli,” Suresh Raina’s message for Team India in the mega-event

Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli | GETTY

Ex-India cricketer Suresh Raina wants Team India to go after the 2021 T20 World Cup trophy for Virat Kohli. Kohli had announced that he won’t continue as T20I captain of the team after the mega ICC event in UAE and Oman.

Raina, in his column for the ICC, wrote that India has the team to win the title and they would only need to use the momentum after playing the recently concluded IPL 2021. India’s T20 World Cup campaign starts with a face-off against Pakistan in Dubai on October 24.

“For India, the message at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is simple — do it for Virat Kohli. It will probably be his last time at this tournament as captain, so it’s very important for him to make everyone believe we can do it and for us to get behind him,” he wrote.

“India fans can’t wait for the T20 World Cup to start for this reason. We have the players, we have the momentum — we just need to go out there and execute now. All of our players have just played the Indian Premier League in the UAE and they have played themselves into top form with eight or nine games in this environment,” he added.

Raina feels the conditions in UAE are very similar to India and Pakistan and the Asian teams would benefit here playing their natural game.

“This (IPL) gives India an edge on all other teams and makes them one of the big favorites to win the T20 World Cup in my opinion. The conditions in UAE are very similar to what we play in India and also in Pakistan. It’s a good opportunity for the Asian teams to come and play their natural game.

“We need to remember there are lots of other good teams in the tournament. Pakistan, Australia, and England also look very good, and anything can happen in T20 cricket,” he added.

The 34-year-old further wrote that the success of Team India lies in the top order with important players like Rohit Sharma, Kohli, and KL Rahul. “For me, the key to success for India’s batting lies in the top three. Rohit Sharma is a gun player — he has a brilliant record at ICC events in the past and had a great IPL. We need Rohit, KL Rahul, and Virat to bat through to 15 overs and lay the platform. They can set the momentum for the India team by doing this,” he wrote

“There are lots of electric combinations in the middle order and obviously Rishabh Pant is going to play a key role there. Hardik Pandya is also very capable as a power hitter. But if the top three are still there at that stage of the innings, there is no target that India can’t chase.”