Out of favour India batsman Suresh Raina is all set to be a part of Chennai Super Kings’ setup in the next edition of Indian Premier League (IPL). CSK along with Rajasthan Royals (RR) were barred from the IPL for the past two editions because of corruption and fixing allegations against their respective owners.
In the last two seasons of IPL, Raina led the dysfunctional Gujarat Lions side. Earlier this month, IPL retention was held in Bangalore wherein CSK retained the services of three of their marquee players MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja. Raina was retained by the Chennai based franchise for a whopping Rs. 11 crore.
With his IPL team sorted for the next five seasons, Raina is ecstatic with the prospect of reunion with his beloved teammates in CSK’s dynamic dressing room. The southpaw admitted that he has become a better player under the guidance of some influential coaches and senior players in Chennai Super Kings’ system.
"We have played so many matches together. We had to play for CSK again. In fact, I became a real player in Chennai," Raina was quoted by PTI as saying on Monday (January 22).
"The coaches and the players there like Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Muttiah Muralitharan had a fine influence on me. I have learnt a lot from them. It's not a team but like a family," he further added.
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.
"The amount of love I have got from fans was great. It was a great team atmosphere. Many players like (Ravichandran) Ashwin, (Pawan) Negi, Jadeja came up from CSK.
"You have to perform to play and I'm looking forward to play for Chennai again. We all are excited to regroup," Raina said.
Captaining Uttar Pradesh side, Suresh Raina struck a belligerent 126 not out against Bengal in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament today. Talking about the motivation to play in the domestic T20 tournament, the 31-year-old said: "I play each and every tournament with the same intent. The tournament has many big names and before the IPL and upcoming Asia Cup it's a nice opportunity."
The CSK vice-captain further stated that the tournament will give him an opportunity to see the talented youngsters ahead of the much-anticipated IPL auction on January 27 and 28.
"There are a lot of exciting youngsters like Rinku Singh, there's also Kuldeep (Yadav) who will play a couple of matches before heading to South Africa. It's a chance to see many youngsters," concluded Raina.