Mumbai: Captain of a second-string Indian squad to Zimbabwe, Suresh Raina on Tuesday said the absence of senior players has given the youngsters an opportunity to prove their mettle in the tri-series and two bilateral Twenty20 Internationals against the hosts.
"We have to thank the seniors who have taken a rest and it has given a great opportunity for the youngsters to do well. We have a good bench and all of them have done well in domestic cricket," said the 23-year-old, who is yet to play in a Test match, ahead of the team's departure here.
The Indian team will be without eight senior players, including regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar, for the May 28-June 9 tri-series, also involving Sri Lanka, and the two T20 Internationals against Zimbabwe on June 12 and 13.
Raina said the young team under him was a balanced one and expressed confidence that they would do well in the tri-series and the Twenty20 Internationals.
"It's going to be an exciting series. We have a well-balanced team. We have lot of good batsmen who have done well in first class cricket and in IPL. We have a good medium pace attack and good set of all-rounders. We will win the series if we work hard," he said.
Raina said leading the country was an honour and dream come true for him but it has also imposed extra responsibility on his shoulders.
Raina said he was confident of doing well as captain as he had played under Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.
"I have played under Dada (Ganguly), Rahulbhai and Dhoni. Dhoni has told me to keep it simple. I have also talked to coach (Gary Kirsten)," Raina said.
He said the advice which Tendulkar keeps giving was to be humble all the time.
"He (Tendulkar) has repeatedly said that if you are humble you would achieve a lot," the left handed batsman said.
Raina brushed aside concerns that the Indian batsmen were not comfortable against the short stuff.
"There's a lot of talk we are not good against short-pitched bowling. We have done well in Tests and 50-over games to become the number one team in Tests and number two in ODIs. Some days you get your shots right and on others you get it wrong," UP batsman pointed out.
Indian ODI squad for Zimbabwe tri-series Suresh Raina (Captain), Virat Kohli (Vice-Captain), Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik (Wicket-keeper), Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Pankaj Singh, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Naman Ojha.
Indian Twenty20 Squad Suresh Raina (Captain), Virat Kohli (Vice-Captain), Murali Vijay, Dinesh Karthik (Wicket-keeper), Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Ashok Dinda, Pankaj Singh, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Naman Ojha and Piyush Chawla.