India players must win it for Virat Kohli says Suresh Raina

Virat Kohli

Suresh Raina has called on India to win the T20 World Cup as a fitting tribute to the greatness of Virat Kohli.

Kohli has changed the way India plays T20 cricket, and Raina feels that he deserves to lift the trophy before stepping down as captain in the format.

India must win it for Virat Kohli

Raina opined that the IPL will give India an edge as the only side whose entire squad has been granted consistent high-quality cricket over the month preceding the tournament.

“For India, the message at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is simple – do it for Virat Kohli,” Raina wrote in a column for the ICC.

“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.

“India fans can’t wait for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 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.

“This gives India an edge on all other teams and makes them one of the big favourites to win the T20 World Cup in my opinion.

“The conditions in UAE are very similar to what we play India and also in Pakistan. It’s a good opportunity for the Asian teams to come and play their natural game.”

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Stars must shine

Raina said that India’s star players would need to stand up and be counted if they are to lift the trophy in November.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

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