IPL 2021: Suresh Raina's Return Is Almost Like A New Signing For CSK, Ricky Ponting
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IPL 2021: Suresh Raina’s Return Is Almost Like A New Signing For CSK, Ricky Ponting

Suresh Raina (Image Credit: IPL)

Ricky Ponting, Delhi Capitals coach has said that veteran batsman Suresh Raina, coming back after missing the last IPL, is almost like a new signing for CSK this year.

Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting has spoken highly of Chennai Super Kings ahead of their opening match tie in IPL 2021. DC, to be led by newly-appointed captain Rishabh Pant, and MS Dhoni-led CSK are all set to lock horns at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, on April 10 (Saturday).

Ricky Ponting is looking forward to working with Rishabh Pant. [Source: The SportsRush]
Ricky Ponting is looking forward to working with Rishabh Pant. [Source: The SportsRush]

Ricky Ponting: CSK Are One Of The Most Successful Teams In IPL History And Got A Great Leader And Players Squad

Ricky Ponting spoke highly of their opponents on eve of the match. According to Ricky Ponting, having Suresh Raina back will be a huge bonus for the MS Dhoni-led side and will be like ‘a new signing’. The veteran left-handed batsman had pulled out of IPL 2020 citing personal reasons amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“They have been one of the most successful teams in IPL history. They have obviously got a great leader and a great squad of players. They have always managed to play really consistent cricket. Last year they were probably disappointed with the way their season worked out,” Ricky Ponting said.

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: Twitter)

Suresh Raina who retired alongside MS Dhoni at 33 years of age from international cricket on 15th August 2020 was supposed to play IPL 2020 before he withdrew citing personal reasons. CSK has won the IPL thrice and is regarded as one of the most successful franchises in T20 history.

IPL’s second-highest run-scorer Suresh Raina has 5368 runs in 193 matches at an average of 33.34. He will bat in the top of the order for CSK along with Ambati Rayudu in IPL 2021.

Ricky Ponting: CSK’s Poor Performance Was Owing To The Fact That Suresh Raina Wasn’t There In IPL 2020 And Is Almost Like A New Signing

The former Indian skipper, MS Dhoni, who will turn 40 this year didn’t play a single game at the highest level since the semi-final loss at the Cricket World Cup 2019. Many believed he would still play but he finally hung his boots from the international cricket in August last year. MS Dhoni last year confirmed that 2020 was definitely not the last time he was seen playing for CSK.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had a forgettable campaign in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 finishing 7th in the points table as they couldn’t qualify for playoffs for the 1st time in IPL history.

“I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that Suresh Raina wasn’t there for the entire tournament. He comes back into the squad this year which is almost like a new signing. A great player and a very experienced player that they missed last year.”

Delhi Capitals coach Ricky Ponting believes three-time IPL champions CSK have a reasonable squad for the 14th edition. While Ricky Ponting has spoken about the flexibility of CSK’s squad, he admitted that DC has no clue of who would be opening for MS Dhoni’s team.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)

“We have been looking at their squad and analyzing their squad over the last week, and they have got a good squad of players together. They have got lots of flexibility.

“Even now, when we have talked about it for a week, and we are still not sure who’s gonna open the batting for them. So they have got lots of options. But at the same time, we have got a great squad, and we want to build on last season.” Ricky Ponting added.

In the last edition, young opener Ruturaj Gaikwad smashed a hat-trick of half-centuries in the last three games to amass 204 runs averaging 51 in 6 games after scoring 5 runs in the first 3 outings.

Another opener, Faf Du Plessis was inarguably CSK’s best batsman last year. The only consistent player in the yellow jersey, he amassed 449 runs with his highest 87 coming as an opener. However, it was at No.3 where the Proteas actually faired well. In the starting three games, he scored impressive 173 runs which included two half-centuries.

Another opener, the new acquisition of CSK, Robin Uthappa, for the majority of his IPL career played as an opener and would love to return to his favourite position. His best as No.1 came in 2014, where he scored 660 runs to help Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) win the IPL title.

CSK Playing XI (Probable) vs Delhi Capitals: Robin Uthappa, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Krishnappa Gowtham