Kolkata, Jan 22: Out-of-favour India batsman Suresh Raina is hopeful of an India comeback "soon" after recently clearing the 'yo-yo' fitness test which is mandatory to stay in contention for the national side.
Raina's fitness was one of the things that has kept him out of the national side. It's been more than two years that he is out of the One-Day International (ODI) side and last played for India in a T20I against England in January last year.
"I am working hard. Seeing dada (Sourav Ganguly) here today, it's good to see your idol sitting here supporting Bengal. He has done so much for CAB ( Cricket Association of Bengal). To have a legend like him around is great. I will make a comeback very soon. Really enjoying my batting and hopefully it will be very soon," Raina told reporters on the sidelines of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.
Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President Sourav Ganguly was here to watch the Group B game at the Eden Gardens.
Skippering Uttar Pradesh, Raina struck a belligerent 126 not out batting first, at an excellent strike-rate of 139.09 to put up a mammoth 235/2. In reply, Bengal could only manage 160 all out.
"The wicket (at the Eden Gardens) was very good. You have to make the most in the first six overs, that's the basic of playing T20 cricket.
"When I came to Kolkata, I had a good net session with the coach. I was hitting the ball well today," the dashing 31-year-old southpaw said of his knock.
Asked how important was this whirlwind innings to him keeping in mind the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), Raina, who has been retained by the Chennai Super Kings, said: "I have always believed in my process. I have been working on my game, my fitness. IPL is still far away, still we have lot of cricket to be played. We have got the South Africa series, the T20 is there. Then we have the Asia Cup."
On his clearing the 'yo-yo' test after failing at the first attempt, the 2011 50-over World Cup winner said: " I had a few niggles in my body. But thanks to NCA and BCCI they gave me ten days, I went there and I did pretty well."
"My attitude is still the same, sometime you need to groom yourself, in the last couple of months, I did not play for India but I became more matured. I became more solid," he added.
Raina also backed the under-fire Indian team which have already lost the ongoing Test series in South Africa.
"The way we played two Tests, you have to give credit to bowlers and Virat. We got almost 40 wickets. We almost won in Cape Town.
"The team has been doing well. Last couple of tours, whenever we have gone there, we drew the Test series there, MS was captain, I was there too. Team quality is amazing. Look at Pandya he batted so well. Virat scored a brilliant hundred, Bhuvi bowled a brilliant spell...so probably we will win next Test," he said.