Suresh Raina has been one of the bedrock behind Chennai Super Kings’ unprecedented success in the IPL over the years.
Nicknames as ‘Mr. IPL’, Suresh Raina is the second-highest run-getter in the history of the cash-rich league and his all-round quality is something that MS Dhoni and CSK missed last year, according to Pragyan Ojha.
Suresh Raina pulled out from the last season of the IPL at the last moment due to personal reasons. There were a lot of rumors doing the rounds after Raina’s sudden exit but CSK team management effectively quashed all of them by retaining him ahead of the auction.
CSK endured a horrendous season last year as they failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in IPL history. And, according to Ojha, the absence of Suresh Raina was one of the major reasons behind the debacle.
“Last year, CSK was missing Suresh Raina. He was the cushion that MSD always had. At any point, Dhoni could fall back on Raina and Raina used to deliver. He has delivered for more than a decade now. He has done so much for CSK. He is one of the core members. I have always spoken about the core members for a successful team. With CSK, Raina has been one of them,” Pragyan Ojha told Sports Today.
“If you look at CSK’s success formula, one of the ingredients is Suresh Raina. In fielding, in batting and giving a piece of advice for MS Dhoni. Raina and Dhoni have a very good understanding between them. It really helps. Somewhere at some point, maybe MSD would have thought that if Raina were there last year, it would have been a different scenario,” Ojha said.
‘He will just go out and play the way he has been’- Pragyan Ojha on Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina, who retired from international cricket alongside MS Dhoni last year, hasn’t played a lot of competitive cricket in the last two years.
He did a warm-up for the IPL by featuring in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy earlier this year. According to Pragyan Ojha, Raina will go out and play his natural game this season.
Ojha further reckoned that Raina will add a lot of value to the CSK outfit, not only with the bat but also as a helping hand to MS Dhoni when it comes to fielding suggestions during the time of a crisis.
”He will just go out and play the way he has been. It’s as simple as that. When I say it, it sounds simple but it is not. But that is what he should be doing. That is what all of us expect, and I am very sure he will be eager to go out there and perform and get those big runs for CSK,” he said.
“I think this year, Raina will add a lot of value not only with the bat, with the fielding and also discussing few important things about strategy during a crisis (with Dhoni),” he added.
CSK will kickstart their IPL 2021 campaign against the Delhi Capitals on April 10 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.