Chance for youngsters to step up and perform, says Raina

Chance for youngsters to step up and perform, says Raina

"It's a great opportunity for the youngsters who have done well in domestic cricket. I hope they will do well," said the 25-year-old Raina at the pre-departure media conference of the team here today sitting alongside newly-appointed chief coach Duncan Fletcher.

The Indian team will be playing in the ODIs without Gautam Gambhir, prolific opener Virender Sehwag, man-of-the-tournament in the World Cup Yuvraj Singh--- all of whom are out with injuries. Regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and senior pacer Zaheer Khan have been rested keeping in mind the gruelling two and a half month tour of England that starts in July.

"I am really honoured to be leading the side. I am happy with the side as we have some very good batsmen in Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, S Badrinath, Shikhar Dhawan all of whom have done well in first-class cricket.

"Badrinath especially has done well in first-class cricket and deserves to be in the team. I hope we will do well in the West Indies," said Raina who will hand over the reins to Dhoni when he returns for the three-Test series to be held after the conclusion of the five ODIs.

The Indians start the tour with a lone T20 international at Port of Spain on June 4.
Coach Fletcher said he had followed the rotation system when he was the England coach and received criticism from the authorities.

The burly Zimbabwean wants to go slow about this supposed rotation policy.
"While I was in England, I started the rotation policy resting senior guys. I was heavily criticised by the English authorities. It's important to do that considering the heavy schedule. We need to look into the matter as we go into the future," said the Zimbabwe-born Fletcher for whom it will be his first assignment as the Indian team's coach after taking over from his protege Gary Kirsten after the World Cup.
"There is a lot of talent in India and my job is to prepare these youngsters. It's a pleasure to blood them in ODIs," said Fletcher.

Asked about the club-versus-country debate, Fletcher said it's not specific to cricket.
"That's the way it is in modern day sports. We have to ensure that all the players are fit enough," he said.

Raina said the Indian team had done very well over the last three years, having climbed to the top among Test nations and winning the World Cup after 28 years.

"There's always pressure and we have done well under pressure. We have done well over the last three years and have won the World Cup. It's for us as players to execute the plans of the coach well. We have to play our natural game," he said.

Fletcher did not see the trip as an easy outing though the West Indies are not the same force they were in 70's and 80's.

"Any team playing at home is difficult to beat. We should not be complacent," said the new coach who said he intended not to look too far ahead in his job.