Suresh Raina is having a good start to his New Year having played a key role in the 3rd T20 down under scoring a boundary of the last ball and helping India win the series 3-0. He is considered to be one of the best T20 players in IPL history and his abilities have been duly rewarded as the new IPL franchise the Gujarat Lions recently confirmed that Raina will captain the side.
Raina has played all seasons of the IPL for the Chennai Super Kings and has been captained by MS Dhoni. Due to the match fixing scandals, the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals have been suspended for two years and have been replaced by two new franchises. Raina now has a chance to shine and lead a team of his own, an opportunity that he is eager to embrace and is excited by the upcoming IPL auction that is scheduled to take place on the 6th of February.
The Gujarat Lions have hired Aussie Brad Hodge to be their coach and have also secured the services of a number of CSK players including Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum and James Faulkner who will form the nucleus of the new side along with Raina. However the IPL auction will be very interesting as the Gujarat Lions will want to make sure they pick good Indian talent to make their side strong in all departments.
In a statement, Raina said “I am excited about the auction. We need to sit with the coach (Brad Hodge) and owner to decide on the auction. I urge everyone to support Gujarat Lions, the first IPL team from the region. A lot of youngsters are coming up. It will be all about playing fearless cricket.”
Dhoni and Raina have always had a great relationship and Raina credits a lot of his success and cricketing acumen to the CSK skipper. Raina will play against Dhoni for the first time in the 9th edition of the IPL and believes that this experience will be a very interesting one.
Keshav Bansal, the owner of the Gujarat Lions believes that Raina was the best man to captain to the new franchise as he has tremendous experience in the IPL and has played a key role in helping CSK win the IPL championship on more than one occasion. Bansal believes that the combination of Hodge and Raina will provide enough experience and guidance to the younger players in the team.