Raina backs Ishant's mental strength

India

India batsman Suresh Raina says he hopes fast bowler Ishant Sharma will have the mental strength to overcome his recent troubles, while hinting the paceman will be retained for the fourth ODI against Australia.

India batsman Suresh Raina says he hopes fast bowler Ishant Sharma will have the mental strength to overcome his recent troubles, while hinting the paceman will be retained for the fourth ODI against Australia.

Ishant has gone for more than 50 runs in each of his past four limited-overs games, including 30 in one over in the third ODI that allowed the Aussies to win the match and take a series lead.

The lanky paceman was named in the squad for the last four ODIs despite this terrible form, and Raina hopes the pressure and criticism will not prevent his friend from keeping a positive outlook in Ranchi on Wednesday, if selected.

On Tuesday, Raina said of his beleaguered colleague: "I hope Ishant would be strong in his mindset and approach the match in a positive manner. He has really worked hard in the last two days.

"Our bowlers are doing well. Our think tank is strong and have good planning. Bowlers are training hard for last two days. The harder they work the better they would perform. Hopefully we will do really well against the Aussies tomorrow."

The batsman then said he thought one reason for the troubles facing the fast bowlers was the use of two new balls, which didn't allow the ball to get old quickly enough and prevented reverse swing, as well as turn for the spinners.

Raina said: "We are not getting the ball to reverse, while spinners are also not getting turns as with two balls it do not get old. But we have no excuse. We have to do well under the circumstances.

"We have to admit that it's tough for the bowlers. When five players are inside (the circle), it's obviously going to be difficult for the part-timers as your regular bowlers are not doing well.

"Bowlers come under pressure as to what line and length they would have to try when five players are inside. You're allowed to bowl two bouncers but then you have to bowl four more balls after that."

He then added: "No complains, as we have to play under the ICC Playing Conditions. Players will have to do their job."

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