Raina keen to utilise Irani game to earn Test recall

Having played a key role in the One-day series against England after being ignored for the four-Test rubber against the same opponents, middle-order batsman Suresh Raina today said he would like to utilise the Irani Cup match here to earn a recall to the Test squad.

"I have been scoring runs in last 10 matches. So this is the chance. I need to do well in this game; then I can come back to the Test team. Hoping for the best. I am looking forward to this game," Raina told reporters here today.

The UP left-hander is a member of the Virender Sehwag-led Rest of India squad to take on Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai in the Irani Cup clash from February 6-10 at the Wankhede Stadium.

The ROI players practised this afternoon at the stadium ahead of the match and the notable absentees were captain Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Murli Vijay and Manoj Tiwary.

"I am working hard and batting well. I hope I make a good score. Then I will get a chance (to play in the Tests against Australia)," Raina said.

India host Australia in a 4-match Test series from February 22.

Asked about off-spinner Harbhajan Singh's recent claim that India would make a clean sweep against Australia, Raina said currently he was focusing on the game against Mumbai.

"This match is important. I am not looking at 4-0. I am trying to do well against Mumbai. If I come back to the Test team, then definitely we will try to defeat them.

"If an experienced player like Harbhajan is saying this, then definitely we would be able to defeat them 4-0 if we play well."

India were whitewashed 4-0 by Australia in the latter's backyard in the 2011-12 season.
Raina said he has improved as a cricketer and can play close to 50 Test matches.

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