Mirpur, Bangladesh: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feels that Suresh Raina's ability as a T20 batsman is "unquestionable" and his success in the ongoing World T20 will give him confidence to get ready for "bigger battles" ahead.
Raina's sequence of scores, including the two warm-up games, are 41, 54, 35 not out and 1 not out and he had credited Ganguly for giving him tips which proved to be invaluable in his recent success.
"I never had any doubts about Suresh's talent and ability. He has always been a class act in shortest format. He is a dangerous T20 batsman and a big threat for any opposition team. I am certainly hopeful that his current form in ICC World T20 will translate into something bigger and better in the coming days," Ganguly told PTI in an interview on Tuesday.
"There will be tougher battles ahead (England tour in July-September, Australia tour and World Cup) and I would ideally want to him get success in those battles," he said.
Asked about the kind of technical inputs he has given to Raina, Ganguly said, "Yes, I have had interactions with Suresh but what I told him is a very personal thing between two individuals and not for media consumption. He is a colleague and it is my duty to help him if he ever needs any. I am always there to help anyone who needs my advice and I don't believe in making a hue and cry about it."
For someone, who had been a mentor to Yuvraj Singh during the early part of his career, Ganguly said people should not read too much into the left-handed batsman's indifferent form at the moment.
"It's only two matches that Yuvraj has not got runs. We should not make a big fuss about it. He is a human being and can go through a tough phase. He has the talent to overcome this. Show me one sportsman who has played at the top level for 14, 15 or 16 years and never had a slump in form? This is bound to happen as that's how the nature of sport is," said Ganguly.
Ganguly said the key was having self belief and willingness to work hard.
"Self belief is always the key and also Yuvi will need to work even harder now. His time will certainly come and he will have to ready to grab his chance then," said Ganguly who has made several comebacks during his illustrious international career.
Many people have been talking about how India's pace spearhead Mohammed Shami requires rest as he has played 18 ODIs, one List A, four T20s and six Test matches since October 23 last year. But Ganguly has a different view.
"What rest?" he countered. "Shami is only 24 years old. He is a strong young man. Just because he has played some 15-20 matches does not mean that he should be rested. This is the time when he should be play more matches. I do not think he requires any rest. His duty is to run in hard and bowl whenever the captain throws the ball at him," Ganguly said.
Amit Mishra has been a revelation for India in the World Twenty20 so far and Ganguly predicted that whenever there will be a bit more help for the spinners, the leggie would prove to be more than a handful for the opposition batsmen.
"The tracks where the ball is turning, Mishra will always trouble the batsmen. The conditions at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium suit his style of bowling. Also he is a good T20 bowler having enjoyed some success in the Indian Premier League. He did reasonably well for Sunrisers Hyderabad during the last edition of IPL," 41-year-old Ganguly said.
Ganguly, who played 113 Tests and 311 ODIs, also said that Mahendra Singh Dhoni "has led the side well in the tournament" although he did not wish to be drawn into the debate as to whether the India captain has been a bit more pro-active in this format than the longer version.
He tipped India as a contender to win the World T20 although he said there was some way to go in the tournament.
"The spinners are doing a good job. It's too early to say whether this is the best chance for them to win the T20 World Cup but certainly they have started well. In conditions where the ball is spinning, India will certainly be one of the contenders but they have only played two matches. There is still some way to go," Ganguly said.