Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has a special place in MS Dhoni's heart. He is attached to the team and his teammate and friend Suresh Raina knows it very well. Raina was there when Dhoni had got emotional while delivering a speech ahead of the IPL 2018 at an event.
CSK is coming back after 2 years and it means a lot for Dhoni to play in yellow once again. No wonder the southpaw, Raina wants to gift the 36-year-old a trophy this year.
"MS (Dhoni) delivered a very moving speech when our team gathered in Chennai before the start of this year's IPL. He got quite emotional. He cares so much for Chennai, we all do. He has been amazing for CSK since 2008 and is one of the nicest guys around. So this time, we want to win the IPL for Dhoni," revealed Raina in an exclusive chat with India Today.
"He gets criticized so often and every time answers his critics back through his performance. Sometimes, you need to see it from an emotional side as well. We definitely have a team which can win it for MS this time. You need to do something every time he turns up and that is the reason we want to win the IPL for Dhoni. Hopefully, by God's grace, we will win the final this time, we haven't done it since 2011 so I really want to do it this time," he added.
CSK are currently 2nd in the points table and have booked a place in playoffs already. The side hasn't disappointed their fans by remaining consistent as always.
"We are all ready for the playoffs. Those will be difficult games but our unit is very confident right now. This season we batted really well as a group. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu gave us good starts, then myself, followed by MS Dhoni who has been batting so well. Having someone like Bhajju Pa (Harbhajan) in the team is always so inspiring. He not only makes you laugh so often but also motivates you to perform, for your team and country. He is such a wonderful entertainer along with (Dwayne) Bravo. So if you see our team is so much experienced and has so many match winners in it. I remember reading somewhere after the auction that Chennai team is a bunch of old guys. But it is all about experience and how well you use it," said Raina.
Raina, while talking about CSK's performance this year, didn't miss out the batting coach Michael Hussey. He credited him for the brilliant performance by Chennai's batting line up this year.
" We have the same core team, same doctor, same physio, same trainers and a guy who has played for us before in Hussey. His input has been amazing, especially when it comes to me. I have spent a lot of time with him and so did Rayudu and other young Indian batters. Sometimes you need someone who can understand your game, your mindset, especially in a busy tournament like IPL where you keep on traveling from one ground to another. You need someone who can correct you and Hussey is a top guy in our team. He makes sure that everyone chips in and performs with the right sort of technique."
Raina is one of the most consistent batsmen of IPL. He is the only batsman to cross 300-run mark every season. The left-hander has been picked for India's T20 squad against Ireland and England. He hasn't counted himself out from the selection in 2019 World Cup team.
"I have always done well in England and am eagerly looking forward to these T20 games against Ireland and England. This time we have a good team and are targeting the 2019 World Cup. In this team, we have a few players who won the World Cup in 2011. Selection obviously is not in my hand but I am enjoying my time. Hopefully, I will continue to do well. I just want to go out there and do what I have done earlier and get into the World Cup team and win the cup again for my country."
Raina is certainly enjoying IPL with family traveling along with him. He called IPL a festival.
"Not just me, look at Dhoni, he is enjoying so much. The families are traveling along this IPL. All our daughters are together. Hinaya (Harbhajan), Ziva (MS Dhoni), Gracia (Raina) and also Imran Tahir's son. We are having a great family time and we have a franchise in CSK who always looks after us. You just need to go out there in the middle and perform. No need to worry about anything else. The feeling of performing in the middle becomes different then. With daughters playing, wives shopping and we cricketers chatting about the old times and enjoying the antics of Bhajju Pa, it is a wonderful feeling. That is why IPL is so entertaining, it is like a festival for us," Raina admitted.