Even before IPL 2020 could start, Chennai Super Kings were dealt a huge blow by their star man Suresh Raina as the batsman pulled out of the competition citing personal reasons. The franchise confirmed the news on Saturday (August 30).
The southpaw, who recently announced his retirement from international cricket, was looking set to play IPL 2020. Along with the Super Kings’ squad, he had travelled to UAE on August 21. He had also been part of a five-day pre-season camp in Chennai along with captain MS Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, M Vijay and bowling consultant Laxmipathy Balaji.
Missing the former Indialeft-handed batsman will be a mighty blow for the three-time IPL champions. He is Super Kings’ all-time leading run-getter, aggregating 4527 runs from 164 IPL games for the franchise. Suresh Raina is also the second-highest scorer in IPL history with 5368 runs, only behind Virat Kohli’s tally of 5412.
Replacement for Suresh Raina:
Chennai Super Kings will be definitely desperate to get a replacement for a player of Suresh Raina’s stature. But it looks like three-time IPL champions will not explore too many options for the same. The franchise owner and former BCCI president N. Srinivasan has hinted at the player who can replace the left-handed batsman.
Speaking to Outlook, he said Suresh Raina’s exit is good news for Ruturaj Gaikwad. Srinivasan also backed the youngster to become the star of the show for the franchise this season.
“He is an outstanding batsman and will get a chance now. Ruturaj can become the star of the show, who knows?” said Srinivasan.
Gaikwad is one of the two players from the Super Kings camp who has been tested positive for COVID-19. The Maharashtra man is with the team from last season but is yet to make his IPL debut. However, he has proved himself in domestic circuit and is also a regular face in the India A side.
In 2018/19 season, he was Maharashtra’s leading run-getter in Vijay Hazare Trophy too, with 365 runs in eight innings at 45.62 and a strike rate of 90. Earlier this year, he finished Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as the second highest run-scorer, slamming 419 runs at an average of nearly 42 and a strike-rate of over 146.