Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni have a great bond and spent 8 years playing for just one franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). However the Rajasthan Royals (RR) and CSK will not feature in IPL 2016 as they have been banned for two years due to corruption charges brought against the franchise owners. As a result, the players from both franchises have been broken up and will form an integral part of two new teams.
Suresh Raina has been chosen to be the captain for one of those new teams the Gujarat Lions and MS Dhoni will captain the Rising Pune Supergiants. Raina recently unveiled the Gujarat Lions team jersey and shared some of his views on playing for his new franchise and being captain for the first time.
Surprising Raina played down the captaincy part and stated that for him it was only a designation. Instead the dashing left hand batsman spoke more about his former franchise and stated that it would be very emotional for him since he has never missed a single game for CSK during the last 8 years.
In a statement, Raina said “Captaincy is just a designation for me. It is the performance that wins you matches. It is all about how one performs on a particular day. My job is simple. I have to deliver for the Gujarat Lions. Right now, the focus is on Asia Cup, then we have the World T20 and then comes the IPL. We will have a camp in Gujarat with domestic players before IPL. It is important to have a balanced team with good domestic players”.
Dhoni had also said something similar last week stating that he had deep roots with the CSK franchise but would have to put it all behind and even compete against the likes of Raina who was an integral part of the CSK unit.
Raina also stated that he was really happy to hear that Brendon McCullum has scored the fastest test century in his final match, breaking Sir Vivian Richard’s record. McCullum, Raina and Yuvraj Singh are all part of the Gujarat Lions line-up and will have to come together as a new unit to help the Lions make a good start to its IPL debut.
However Raina will keep his IPL plans on the backburner for now as his next challenge is representing the Indian cricket team in the Asian T20 tournament.