Bengaluru, Sep 25: India's middle-order batsman Suresh Raina has revealed how his wife Priyanka has motivated him to stay fit and be ready for an important series against South Africa starting next month.
Raina, speaking to the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) official website, stated that his vacation with Priyanka in The Netherlands not only made him relax but also fine-tune his cricket skills for the new season. Raina and Priyanka got married in April this year.
The left-hander was in Amsterdam in August for a month-long training at the Amsterdam Cricket Club (ACC). He trained on synthetic pitches.
"I spent quality time with my wife and in-laws. I was in a relaxed mode and at the same time was focused on my game and fitness. I practised with the Dutch cricket team in Amsterdam at their camp and faced a lot of quality bowlers in the nets.
"I spent a lot of time polishing my fielding skills - taking catches at point. I also did meditation and yoga, a lot of running in the park and cycling," Raina, who is currently with the Indian team at a preparatory camp in Bengaluru, told bcci.tv.
Explaining his training abroad, the 28-year-old said, "The kind of routine I had there, helped me stay relaxed mentally and active physically. I spent a lot of time with the Dutch team, going to barbeques, playing football and hockey.
"It was a crucial break for me because after my marriage, I had hardly got to spend any time with my wife. It makes a lot of difference; puts you in a happy mental space.
"I am lucky that Priyanka leads a very active lifestyle herself. She would wake me up in the morning and say, ‘let's go to the gym' or ‘let's go cycling or a run'. Having that motivation from your partner makes the workouts more fun."
According to him, all the training in Amsterdam has "truly prepared" for the South African challenge at home.
"As I relaxed, I also started to think clearly about my game. I recalled all the time spent with my team mates and all the victories we celebrated. That has made me hungry to go back on the field and play. I am well and truly prepared to face South Africa," he said.
India and South Africa play 3 T20Is, 5 ODIs and 4 Tests starting from October 2.