The controversial IPL franchise, Chennai Super Kings is all set to make a return to the cash-rich Indian Premier League season 2018 after completing the two-year termination. Chennai Super Kings along with Rajasthan Royals were barred from the IPL for the past two editions because of corruption and fixing allegations against their respective owners.
Just a week ago, IPL retention was held in Bangalore wherein CSK retained the services of three of their marquee players MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja. With his IPL team sorted for the next five seasons, Raina is delighted to share the dressing room with his mentor and beloved captain Dhoni once again. The swashbuckling left-hander, who has played a key role in securing two IPL titles for Chennai, is also excited to don the yellow jersey in the next IPL. Raina was retained by the Chennai Super Kings franchise for whopping Rs. 11 crore.
In an interview with India Today on Tuesday (January 9), Raina talked at length about his return to Chennai Super Kings, reunion with MS Dhoni and a lot more.
Here are the excerpts from the chat:
On his return to CSK after two years – “Overall in the past eight years if you see, the most important thing about CSK is that we play as a team. And playing with MS I think it's always good to go back in your own den and you know everything so well...From the administration to coaching to the doctors to trainers. The amount of love we got from CSK was tremendous and I think they have a very good crowd, we played so many matches there, we played so many finals there, we have also lost finals there but love from the crowd is still the same.”
Prospect of playing under MS Dhoni once again – “I've become a matured player there. I've worked with Stephen Fleming, Kepler Wessels, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey. I've been lucky to have many left-handers in my team when I started off and having MS Dhoni in your side is great because he is so calm. The best thing about him is he does each and everything very calmly. I'm very excited to play in yellow again.”
Thoughts on working under the guidance of Michael Hussey (CSK’s new batting coach) – “Having Michael Hussey as the batting coach will give us more energy and knowledge in the dressing room this season because he is such a player who is always busy doing something. Either with batting or fielding or net practice because he is such a great guy to have in your team and as a batting coach he will add a lot of valuable stuff.”
Reason behind CSK's emphatic run in the IPL – “Having the best domestic and international players I think. All the planning and discipline. We had less quantity but more quality. The practice, administration were great. On top of that, when you have great cricketers like Murali Vijay, myself, Hussey, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Brendon McCullum, Dwwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel and even Ashish Nehra, who has done so much for CSK in the last few years. Domestic players have to be of quality when your playing IPL. Even Dwayne Smith and all...they have done so much for us but I think it's all about having good domestic players. When we go there (to CSK) it will be more like a family get together.”
Talking about the burden of expectations from the CSK fans – “I won't say there will be pressure. It's all about how you enjoy more. When you play as a captain, when you play as a team man. Lot of talent is coming up from TNPL (Tamil Nadu Premier League). There are a lot of talented cricketers coming up from Tamil Nadu as well like Washington Sundar, who also played for India. So for a professional cricketer, go there, spend a few days in the camp and start playing.”
On his comeback to the national team through a solid IPL season – “Definitely. I've played all those tournaments and domestic competitions and I haven't missed a single game. It's just a matter of one good season and I will be back because I am a fighter and I love what I got from my team -- India and always try to win games for my country and coming back to CSK will give me one more season to improve as a person and a player. Because we will have Fleming -- the best coach in the IPL. On top of that, we will have best captain in IPL in Dhoni. As a player I have done so much. It will be a great opportunity for me to go there and see what I can get from MS and others.”