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Suresh Raina

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter
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Kevin Pietersen Doesn’t Know What Kieron Pollard Was Thinking As Jasprit Bumrah Was Taken Off After 1 Over

Kevin Pietersen feels Mumbai Indians missed a trick, allowing Chennai Super Kings to get to over 150 when they had them on the mat at 24/4. Kevin Pietersen was pretty outspoken at the mid-innings interval of the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians Match 30 of the IPL 2021, believing MI lost grip of the game when they allowed CSK to come back in the game after having them on the mat at 24/4 in the Powerplay(6 overs).
CSK finished their innings on 156/6 thanks to Ruturaj Gaikwad’s innings of 88 not out and Dwayne Bravo who played a cameo of 23 runs from just eight balls, including three massive sixes besides picking 3 scalps. CSK was 24/4 at one stage and Ambati Rayudu was retired hard but the momentum was shifted as unlike the opening pacers Trent Boult and Adam Milne, the spinner Krunal Pandya(2 overs 27 runs) was too expensive.
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain - Sportzpics
Kevin Pietersen file image | Faheem Hussain – Sportzpics

Kevin Pietersen: Mumbai Indians Missed A Trick And Lost Despite Starting Well

The total proved to be a match-winning one as MI finished on 136/8; thus, losing the contest by 20 runs. Kevin Pietersen was sceptical of Kieron Pollard’s captaincy, pointing out areas where he felt Mumbai Indians should have been tactically smarter.

“Mumbai started so well. They really got themselves into the game. They knew they needed to get themselves going. They lost their captain so he was replaced. And they started so well. CSK was 4 down very early. Ambati Rayudu retired out. When you get that many wickets early, you have to keep your foot down. You talk about momentum; you need to keep it going,” Pietersen said during the innings interval on Star Sports.

Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I think Mumbai Indians missed a trick. I don’t know what Kieron Pollard was thinking by not bowling Jasprit Bumrah for 2 or 3 overs. They could have been 40/7, 50/7. CSK could have been 60, 70, or 80 all out. I’m not being silly when I say that. You have got to bowl your fast, strike bowlers.”

Jasprit Bumrah was taken off after just one over, and the ball was handed to Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar. Although Rahul Chahar bowled a tight spell at one end, Krunal Pandya leaked runs with Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ravindra Jadeja growing in confidence. Apart from the MI pacers Trent Boult, Adam Milne, and Jasprit Bumrah who took 2 wickets each, the other bowlers failed to take a scalp.

Kevin Pietersen:  Mumbai Indians Should Have Cleaned CSK Out

The two Ravindra Jadeja and Ruturaj Gaikwad stitched a partnership of 81 runs to put CSK back in the game, which is something  Kevin Pietersen reckons should have been avoided given the fact that 3 of their top four were all dismissed for ducks – Ambati Rayudu was retired hurt – MS Dhoni fell for 3 and Suresh Raina for 4.

Dwayne Bravo. (AFP)
Dwayne Bravo. (AFP)/ AFP PHOTO / PUNIT PARANJPE

“They were allowed into the game. There is nowhere in this world that they should have been in this game. Mumbai Indians should have cleaned them out. These are things that are discussed in team meetings. If you had been 40/4 or something like that, you don’t bring spinners in and if you do, you don’t put fielders in the boundary,” Pietersen added at the end of the match.

Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo scored 26 and 23 respectively before being dismissed while Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, and MS Dhoni couldn’t contribute even 5 runs each. For CSK, pacers Dwayne Bravo scalped three wickets and Deepak Chahar took two scalps. For Mumbai Indians, Saurabh Tiwary was the highest scorer after playing a knock of 50 runs.

With this win, Chennai Super Kings went to the top of the IPL table while Mumbai is now in danger of falling outside the top 4 if they get on a losing streak.

Chennai Super Kings 156 for 6 (Gaikwad 88*, Jadeja 26, Milne 2-21) beat Mumbai Indians 136 for 8 (Tiwary 50*, Bravo 3-25, D Chahar 2-19) by 20 runs

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
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IPL 2021: CSK vs MI – 3 CSK Players Who Can Be The Man Of The Match

IPL 2021 UAE leg’s first fixture will be between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians who have won the most number of IPL titles so far and they are again one of the favorites to win the title this year as well. The first phase of IPL 2021 saw these two teams taking on each other in an intense battle and the excitement is set to continue in the second phase as well.

This will be the first match after the resumption of the IPL 2021 in UAE and this will also be the return fixture between these teams. The first game between these two sides this season ended in the favor of the Mumbai Indians who pulled off a stunning win. Here are 3 CSK players who can be the man of the match in IPL 2021.

Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL
Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians
©BCCI/IPL

IPL 2021: CSK vs MI- 3 CSK Players Who Can Be The Man Of The Match

Faf du Plessis

Faf du Plessis
Faf du Plessis (Image Credit: Twitter)

The veteran South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis has been one of the consistent performers for the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2021. He is the third-highest run-scorer in IPL 2021 overall so far and the 37-year-old has been key to the plans of the CSK side.  Faf du Plessis scored 320 runs in 7 games at an average of 64.00 in the first phase and Chennai Super Kings will be worried about his fitness issues.

He will certainly be one of the favorites to win the man of the match award if fit and available to play. Faf du Plessis has picked up a groin injury a few days back while playing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
It was learned that Faf du Plessis could be fit to be ready in time for CSK’s opening match against Mumbai Indians on Sunday. Though he hasn’t played the latter CPL games, he may just be ready for Sunday’s opening fixture.

Faf du Plessis, along with CSK’s other members Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo who are playing in the CPL, will arrive in the UAE on Thursday. The trio doesn’t need to undergo the mandatory hard quarantine since they will have a bubble-to-bubble transfer.

He was also a star in CSK’s miserable campaign in the UAE in IPL 2020, scoring 449 runs in 13 matches at a strike rate of 140.75 with 4 fifties. CSK had performed poorly in IPL 2020 as for the first time the three-time IPL winners failed to qualify for the playoffs of the event.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja (Image Credit: Twitter)

The all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was in clinical form in the first phase of IPL 2021 with the bat especially and he played some crucial knocks. The left-hander has scored 131 runs in the first 7 games and was dismissed just once in his innings. He has played 191 matches in his IPL career so far and scored 2290 runs at an average of 26.62, including two fifties. He also has 120 wickets to his name, including three four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul.

Ravindra Jadeja was in good form in the recent Test series against England too. He has the ability to turn a match on its head quickly. He has been excellent under MS Dhoni’s captaincy and he will be expecting to produce the same. The left-handed batsman scored 131 runs in 6 innings at an average of 131. He also batted at a strike rate of 126+ and scored a half-century. He also picked 6 wickets while bowling at an economy of 6.70 and an average of 26.83.

Ambati Rayudu

Ambati Rayudu © BCCI
Ambati Rayudu © BCCI

Ambati Rayudu was one of the stars of the Chennai Super Kings side in their first fixture against Mumbai Indians and almost bagged the man of the match award. The right-hander scored 72 off just 27 balls with seven sixes and four fours. He will be one of the players to watch out for in the contest between these two teams.

Ambati Rayudu was once part of the Mumbai Indians unless he was bought by the CSK side in the 2018 auction. He likes to take on the Mumbai bowlers especially. Ambati Rayudu has been one of the important pillars in the CSK side in the middle order.

In 7 matches in the Indian leg of IPL 2021, Ambati Rayudu scored 136 runs averaging 34 at an excellent strike rate of 200. Once a regular in the Indian ODI team, Ambati Rayudu would come in handy for the CSK in the middle-order, if needed.

The likes of Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, and Shardul Thakur are some other contenders for MoM.

Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
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IPL 2021: CSK vs MI- CSK’s Predicted XI For The 1st Match

IPL 2021, UAE leg is all set to get underway from September 19 and it would be a blockbuster to get things rolling in UAE as defending champions Mumbai Indians lock horns with familiar foes in Chennai Super Kings in Dubai. While expectations would be high from both sides, the winner would be the one side who holds their nerves best on the given day as both teams are well-matched on paper.

The two teams have met on 32 occasions, with Mumbai being the winners 19 times. CSK holds the 2nd spot in the points table with 10 points. The MS Dhoni-led side has won 5 matches and lost 2 out of 7 matches. On the other hand, Mumbai Indians are in the 4th spot in the points table with 8 points. Out of 7 games, MI has won 4 matches and lost 3. In the earlier encounter in India in IPL 2021, MI won the match by 4 wickets while chasing a mammoth target of 219 runs.

For CSK, they have concerns to address ahead of their opener against MI as a couple of their stars – Faf du Plessis and Sam Curran – may miss out.  While the SA cricketer picked up an injury during a CPL match and that puts his participation in doubt, the English all-rounder has arrived in Dubai only on Wednesday morning and has to serve a mandatory 6-day quarantine – which makes him unavailable.

Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL
Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL

IPL 2021:- Chennai Super Kings Predicted XI:-

Robin Uthappa

Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa (Image Credit: Twitter)

Robin Uthappa might get a chance to play for Chennai Super Kings in the match against Mumbai Indians as Faf du Plessis is currently injured. Faf du Plessis recently faced a groin injury during a CPL 2021 and reports suggest that he might need one week to recover.

As a result, the team might give Robin Uthappa a chance in the opening slot against Mumbai Indians. The unfailingly consistent and proven match-winner, Robin Uthappa, who has scored 4607 IPL runs, was traded to Chennai Super Kings by the Rajasthan Royals ahead of IPL 2021 Player Auction.

Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad
Ruturaj Gaikwad (Image Credit: Twitter)

Ruturaj Gaikwad will be the other opener CSK might choose in the opening game of IPL 2021. Ruturaj Gaikwad executed a great batting show in the first leg, scoring 196 runs in 7 games at an average of 28. He also smacked 2 half-centuries, while batting at a strike rate of 128+.

Moeen Ali

Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali[photo: Twitter]
After his brilliant quickfire knocks in the first leg of IPL 2021, Moeen Ali is most likely to be part of the CSK’s playing XI against MI. The England player played 6 matches in the first leg, scoring 206 runs in 6 innings at an average of 34.33. The leg-handed batsman owned a strike rate of 157+ and also hit 1 fifty. He also picked 5 scalps averaging an impressive 14.8.

Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: Twitter)

Suresh Raina is another player who might make it into the playing XI during CSK’s opening game against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021. In 7 matches so far, the left-handed batsman scored 123 runs in 6 innings at an average of 24.60. Suresh Raina has also hit a half-century in one game. He has played exactly 200 IPL games and has scored 5491 runs in IPL and is the third-highest run-getter in IPL history.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja. Image Credits: Twitter

Ravindra Jadeja is one player who will definitely make it into the playing XI for CSK in the opening encounter against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021. The left-handed batsman scored 131 runs in 6 innings at an average of 131. He also batted at a strike rate of 126+ and scored a half-century. He also picked 6 wickets while bowling at an economy of 6.70 and an average of 26.83.

MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

MS Dhoni will lead the team in the match against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021 opener. In the first leg, the wicketkeeper-batsman could not come up with a big knock in any game. In 4 innings, he scored 37 runs averaging a below-par 12.33.  MS Dhoni is the best option for a wicketkeeper for CSK.

While MS Dhoni has hung up his boots on a 16-year illustrious career for Team India, he will be seen donning the CSK colours once again. MS Dhoni would want to end IPL 2021 on a winning note as this season may be the last one for the keeper. CSK failed to qualify for the first time in IPL history in 2020 but the MS Dhoni-led team will want to make amends.

Imran Tahir

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir (Image Credit: Twitter)

Imran Tahir is another player who might make it to CSK’s playing XI in the opening game. Since the IPL 2021 2nd phase will take place in UAE, spinners will be a lot more effective. As a result, CSK might induct 42-year-old veteran Imran Tahir into the team for the game against Mumbai Indians.

The 2019 purple cup winner, who picked 26 scalps in 17 games in 2019, didn’t get enough opportunities in IPL 2020 and IPL 2021. He played only 4 games in the last 2 seasons picking up 3 scalps.

Mitchell Santner

Mitchell Santner
Mitchell Santner. (Photo Source: Twitter)

For another spinner in the team, Mitchell Santner can be part of CSK in the IPL 2021 opener against Mumbai Indians. The Kiwi player did not play any match during the first leg. In 6 games in IPL so far, the bowling all-rounder Santner has picked 6 wickets and scored 32 runs. His matches came in 2019 and 2020 but he didn’t get enough opportunities to prove himself.

Deepak Chahar

Deepak Chahar, Twitter @BCCI
Deepak Chahar, Twitter @BCCI

Deepak Chahar is the first pacer that CSK will pick in the IPL 2021 opener against Mumbai Indians. The right-arm pacer showed magnificent form in the first leg, picking 2 four-wicket hauls. With 8 wickets in 7 games, he averaged 24.12 and an economy of 8.04.

Lungi Ngidi

Lungi Ngidi (AFP)
Lungi Ngidi (AFP)

Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo might miss the first game due to quarantine protocols. Hence, Lungi Ngidi might play as a pacer in the opening game against Mumbai Indians. During the first leg, the South African pacer played 3 matches. He picked 5 wickets at an average of 25, with a three-wicket haul in one match.

Shardul Thakur

Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Shardul Thakur. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Shardul Thakur is another pacer that CSK might go for. The right-arm pacer played all 7 matches during the first leg. He scalped 5 wickets. He was a bit costly with his economy rate of 10.33 and his average of 53.4 wasn’t that good.

However, he is a crucial bowler for CSK with his ability to pick wickets when the team needs them. Moreover, he is also a great tailender batsman as proved in the Test tours to England and Australia in international cricket. He has picked up 51 scalps in 52 IPL games so far.

Other options:-

Ambati Rayudu

Ambati Rayudu © BCCI
Ambati Rayudu © BCCI

In 7 matches in the Indian leg of IPL 2021, Ambati Rayudu scored 136 runs averaging 34 at an excellent strike rate of 200 and might play in the middle order. Once a regular in the Indian ODI team, Ambati Rayudu would come in handy for the CSK in the middle-order, if needed.

Josh Hazlewood

Josh Hazlewood Credit: iplt20.com/Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics for BCCI
Josh Hazlewood Credit: iplt20.com/Ron Gaunt/Sportzpics for BCCI

Josh Hazlewood played 3 games in IPL 2020. Josh Hazelwood had cited personal reasons for pulling out of IPL 2021. In his absence, CSK roped in left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff from Australia. However, he did not play a single game for the 3-time champions in IPL 2021.

But Josh Hazlewood announced his availability for the UAE leg of IPL 2021. He has picked 1 scalp in his brief IPL career playing 3 games for CSK. Josh Hazlewood, who played only 3 matches for CSK last season, will be available to play for the 3-time champions in the remainder of the season, starting September 19 in the UAE.

CSK Playing XI vs MI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu/ Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, J Hazlewood/Imran Tahir

Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL
Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians ©BCCI/IPL
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Chennai Super Kings And Mumbai Indians Depart For UAE Ahead Of The Second Leg Of IPL 2021

Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians on Friday (August 13) departed to the UAE ahead of the IPL 2021 resumption, which is scheduled to start from September 19.

The two most successful teams in the Indian Premier League, CSK and MI, who are set to clash in the phase 2 opener at the Dubai International Stadium, took to social media to reveal their journey to the UAE.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

Chennai Super Kings’ Skipper MS Dhoni Shared A Picture As He Gears Up To Leave For Te UAE

MS Dhoni-led CSK shared a picture of their skipper, who can be seen with his suitcase as he gears up to leave for UAE on the franchise’s social media account with the caption: “Get ready folks!”.  The three-time champions, who are headed to Dubai, then posted another tweet with pictures of players that joined MS Dhoni, including the likes of Suresh Raina and Robin Uthappa.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) can be MS Dhoni’s last one with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) if the charismatic leader of the Yellow Brigade opts to call time on an illustrious T20 career at the age of 40. Under MS Dhoni’s leadership, CSK has secured the 2nd spot in the IPL 2021 after playing seven matches. CSK is only behind table-toppers Delhi Capitals in the current IPL 2021 standings.

Mumbai Indians Will Start Their Campaign In IPL 2021 UAE Leg Against Chennai Super Kings

Earlier on Friday (August 13), Mumbai Indians shared a picture on Twitter in which Talent Scout Vinay Kumar can be seen onboard the flight to Abu Dhabi and also a video which shows off-spinner Jayant Yadav also set for travels.

The Mumbai Indians unit had been training at their ground in Ghansoli, the Reliance Corporate Park and as per reports, the MI domestic players had been training for the last two weeks after undergoing quarantine.

Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians (Image Credit: Twitter)

The 14th season of IPL, which was postponed in May this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and bio bubble breaches, will resume on September 19 in Dubai with a blockbuster clash between CSK and MI.

Led by Rohit Sharma, the defending champions were at the fourth spot on the points table before the tournament got suspended. MI is all set to resume its IPL campaign against CSK on 19th September 2021.

The action will then shift to Abu Dhabi where Kolkata Knight Riders will square off against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Sharjah will host its first game on September 24 when Royal Challengers Bangalore take on Chennai Super Kings. In all, 13 matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah, and 8 in Abu Dhabi.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni (Image Credit: Twitter)
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CSK Skipper MS Dhoni Lands In Chennai Before Indian Players’ Departure On August 13

CSK (Chennai Super Kings) skipper MS Dhoni landed in Chennai on Tuesday ahead of the departure of a group of players to the UAE, which will host the remainder of the Indian Premier League next month. A bunch of Indian players will travel to the UAE most likely on August 13, a top CSK official said.

With just a few weeks left for the IPL 2021 Phase 2, BCCI has given permission to the franchises to start heading to UAE after August 10. The MS Dhoni-led CSK franchise is looking to head over to Dubai next weekend. CSK has confirmed that the players and support staff will leave for Dubai on August 13. The CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan has said that the team is looking to arrive in Dubai on August 14 or 15.

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

CSK Skipper MS Dhoni Lands In Chennai

It is notable that Chennai Super Kings usually starts practice a month or at least 15 days earlier as several players from the franchise are retired while some of them are yet to play in the international arena. Thus, the training helps them get in the groove and ensure they are on top of the opposition from the onset. They had previously started training in Chennai for a month ahead of the IPL 2021. The results showed for it as they won 5 out of 7 matches in the opening leg.

“Indian players in the team, whoever is available, will travel to UAE on August 13 in all likelihood,” CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan told PTI.

Fans celebrated MS Dhoni’s arrival in Chennai on social media.

“Lion Day Entry,” CSK posted with a photo of Dhoni on its Twitter handle about the captain reaching the city. There will be no camp in Chennai before the CSK players fly out to the UAE, Viswanathan said.

CSK-Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)
CSK-Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

The second half of the IPL 2021 will be held in UAE from September 19 after the tournament was postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in its bubble.

The BCCI then decided to conduct the remaining matches in the UAE, which successfully hosted IPL 2020. CSK resumes its IPL campaign on September 19 with a match against Mumbai Indians. The MS Dhoni-led side was in the second spot with 10 points after seven games before the league was postponed due to a bio bubble breach.

CSK’s Three Key Foreign Players Are Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, And Faf du Plessis

The England all-rounder Moeen Ali was the star performer for the side during the first half of IPL 2021 and something similar is expected from him in the UAE leg too. CSK’s new No.3, Moeen Ali slammed 206 runs in six innings at an average of 34.33 and a strike rate of 157.25. He also picked up five wickets and turned a couple of games on his own.

Sam Curran is a key all-rounder for the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings. The English all-rounder had a wonderful outing in the IPL 2020 edition and was one of the few positives for the side which had a forgettable campaign. In IPL 2020, Sam Curran scored 186 runs and also picked up 13 wickets in 14 innings.

Sam Curran for CSK (Photo: Twitter/@IPL)
Sam Curran for CSK (Photo: Twitter/@IPL)

Chennai Super Kings batting mainstay Faf du Plessis is the third leading run-getter in the IPL 2021 phase 1. The former South Africa skipper has amassed 320 runs in 7 innings at an average of 64.00, including 4 fifties. He is a vital cog in the batting lineup for CSK.

The platform laid by Faf du Plessis and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (196 runs at a strike rate of 128.94) eased the pressure on the middle order and went a long way enabling CSK to put up massive totals. Ambati Rayudu-136 runs, Ravindra Jadeja-131 runs, Suresh Raina-123 runs also were among runs.

Suresh Raina wants CSK to win IPL 2021 title for MS Dhoni | Photo Credit: PTI
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Suresh Raina Wants CSK To Win IPL 2021 For MS Dhoni

Suresh Raina wants Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to end their title drought by winning the IPL 2021 trophy for MS Dhoni. The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) can be MS Dhoni’s last one with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) if the charismatic leader of the Yellow Brigade opts to call time on an illustrious T20 career at the age of 40.

Suresh Raina, who shares a good camaraderie with MS Dhoni, wants CSK to win its 4th IPL title under leadership in the 14th season of the cash-rich league. There is no denying that former Team India superstars MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina share an exemplary bond. The duo also retired from international cricket on the same day-15th August 2020.

Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni
Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni

Suresh Raina: CSK Having Extra Confidence From MS Dhoni’s Captaincy

From representing Team India together to winning multiple titles at CSK, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni have been nothing but icons of the gentlemen’s game over the years. Nicknamed Chinna Thala, Suresh Raina played an instrumental role in CSK’s resurgence as the Yellow Brigade bounced back after recording their worst-ever finish last season in Suresh Raina’s absence.

With the 14th season of the cash-rich league being relocated to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the left-hander is optimistic about CSK securing a podium finish in the 2021 edition of the T20 tournament.

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: Twitter)

The left-handed southpaw wants the Chennai franchise to end their trophy drought in the 2nd leg of the IPL 2021. Speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Suresh Raina talked about MS Dhoni’s contributions in rebuilding the crestfallen side ahead of the second leg of the 14th season.

“Hopefully, when we go to Dubai, we will have a camp and we can again win it for him. I think the way we were playing this year, we were having some extra confidence from his captaincy and he was enjoying each other’s success,” Raina said. 

Suresh Raina was also pivotal in CSK’s dominance for close to 10 years with his street-smart and risk-free batting. Often coming in at number three, the southpaw would take the games away from the opposition. He has so far scored 5,491 runs in 195 innings(200 games) for CSK and Gujarat Lions averaging 33.07 and is 3rd highest run-scorer in IPL history. He managed 123 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021.

A couple of senior CSK players – Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh (now with KKR) – had pulled out of the tournament in IPL 2020 citing personal reasons. Their absence, especially, Suresh Raina not being with the team affected CSK’s batting a big time which resulted in CSK not reaching the playoffs for the first time in the IPL history.

Suresh Raina: Hopefully CSK Will Win IPL 2021 For MS Dhoni

Under MS Dhoni’s leadership, CSK has secured the 2nd spot in the IPL 2021 after playing seven matches. CSK is only behind table-toppers Delhi Capitals in the current IPL 2021 standings.

“He was giving freedom to all the players and having Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, and Ruturaj in the side, we had the momentum. Hopefully, we can do it again this year for MS,” Raina added.  

MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)
MS Dhoni (BCCI/IPL)

The inclusion of Moeen Ali and the stability in their batting order played a massive role in CSK’s revival in IPL 2021. As both Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu hadn’t played any competitive cricket before the IPL 2021, MS Dhoni went with Moeen Ali at No.3. The move paid off well as the English all-rounder amassed 206 runs at an average of 34.33 and a strike rate of 157.25.

Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis, with 13 sixes each, have cleared the ropes on most occasions for CSK in IPL 2021. They are closely followed by Moeen Ali, who has hit 12 maximums thus far. Faf du Plessis continued from where he left in the UAE in 2020 scoring 320 runs in 7 matches at a strike rate of 145.45 including 4 fifties.

The platform laid by him and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (196 runs at a strike rate of 128.94) eased the pressure on the middle order and went a long way enabling CSK to put up massive totals. Ambati Rayudu-136 runs, Ravindra Jadeja-131 runs, Suresh Raina-123 runs also were among runs.

File image of Suresh Raina.(AP)
File image of Suresh Raina.(AP)
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Fourth Person Involved In Murder Of Suresh Raina’s Relatives Arrested

Suresh Raina’s relatives were attacked on the night of August 19, 2020, in Thariyal village in Punjab’s Pathankot district, which led to his uncle and cousin’s demise. The former Indian batsman’s uncle was slaughtered to death and two cousins and aunt were left critically hurt, after which his cousin expired.

His franchise Chennai Super Kings suffered a huge blow when the 33-year-old, who had retired from international cricket on August 15, 2020, decided not to take part in IPL 2020, although he travelled with the team to Dubai on August 21.

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: Twitter)

Suresh Raina’s Uncle And Cousin Were Killed On August 19, 2020, As One More Person Was Arrested In July 2021

One person was arrested in connection with the attack on former cricketer Suresh Raina’s relatives in which his uncle and a cousin were killed, police said on Sunday.  The accused, Chhajju alias Chhaimar, was arrested from Pachpedha village that falls under Baheri police station, in a joint operation by Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) and Punjab Police, Additional Superintendent of Police Satyasen Yadav said.

The incident had taken place in Punjab’s Pathankot district on the night intervening August 19 and 20. The report claimed the attack was carried by four members of the Kale Kachhewala gang with an intention to loot their house in Thariyal village near Madhopur of Pathankot.

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: IPL)

Pathankot Senior Superintendent of Police Gulneet Singh Khurana confirmed the death of a person named Ashok Kumar. At that time, his exact relation with Suresh Raina had not been established. The robbers left with cash and gold. Ashok Kumar’s wife Asha Devi, sons Apin and Kaushal sustained injuries, while Ashok Kumar’s mother Satya Devi has been discharged from the hospital, Pathankot Superintendent of Police Prabhjot Singh Virk informed.

Suresh Raina’s Uncle And Cousin Were Killed On August 19, 2020, As 3 Members Of The Gang Were Arrested In September 2020

Three members of the gang involved in the attack were arrested in September last year. Chhajju told police he fled to Hyderabad after the incident, stayed there for some time, and then returned to his village in Bareilly.

The attack took place in Pathankot’s Tharyal village on the intervening night of August 19 and 20 last year. Suresh Raina’s uncle, Ashok Kumar, a contractor, had died on the spot, while Kumar’s son, Kaushal, succumbed to injuries on August 31.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (Image Credit: Twitter)

Suresh Raina was in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when this had happened and the tragic incident left him with no choice but to back out from the IPL 2020 less than a couple of weeks before the commencement of the tournament. He was sorely missed as CSK failed to make the playoffs for the first time since the inception of the IPL in 2008.

Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, File Photo
Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, File Photo
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Suresh Raina Was Asked To Be Ready Before Test Debut In 2010 By “Unwell” Yuvraj Singh

Suresh Raina had a memorable Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2010 in Colombo. The left-hander came on to bat and smashed 120 runs in the match. It was not enough to win the match for India but certainly helped the MS Dhoni-led side in drawing against an in-form Sri Lankan team.

But in a recent interaction, Suresh Raina revealed that he was not initially going to play in the aforementioned Test. He revealed that another left-handed southpaw Yuvraj Singh was unwell a day before the Test, which led to him being included in the team.
Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina[photo: Twitter]

Suresh Raina Was Asked To Be Ready By Yuvraj Singh Who Had A Probable Stomach Bug The Night Earlier

Suresh Raina went on to score 120 runs in the first innings as India posted a staggering 707 runs on the board in reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings total of 648 runs. The match, however, ended in a draw after a stupendous display from the batsmen from both sides.

“Just before my Test debut, he (Yuvraj Singh) called me in the night around 12:30 or 1 clock at night. He said ‘Suresh, I am not able to sleep, I think I may have a stomach bug or something.

“You should be ready’. Generally, no one says like this, they usually think we will see how things go in the morning. He was so generous and kind to me to tell me that I should be ready,” Raina told sports presenter Gaurav Kapur on his ’22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapur’ podcast uploaded on Spotify.

Yuvraj Singh. (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)
Yuvraj Singh. (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)

“I could not sleep the entire night – thinking I might make my debut the next day, how will I go about it. It has not been discussed in the team meeting. I am not prepared. I don’t even know if I will make debut or not,” he added.

“Luckily, we lost the toss and were asked to field. We had to field for full two days with Sangakkara and Jayawardene scoring big. Then, after drinking a few coconut waters, I went on to bat,” he further said.

Suresh Raina played 18 tests scoring 768 runs at an average of 26.5. His maiden test hundred went on to be his only century and alongside that, he scored 7 half-centuries. Suresh Raina announced his retirement from international cricket on 15th August 2020, a few moments after the legendary MS Dhoni announced his retirement.

Suresh Raina Congratulated By Yuvraj Singh After Scoring A Ton

Suresh Raina revealed he was lauded by Yuvraj Singh after scoring a ton on his Test debut.

“After I scored a hundred, Yuvi paa came up to me and he hugged me. ‘This is you, well done, I am so happy for you,’ he said to me. It was such a good environment at that time. Senior players, taking care of me, looking after me like a younger brother.

“Looking after you if there is a controversy, they would protect you from the media. They would look after you mentally and give you space where you can perform and express yourself,” Raina signed off.

File image of Suresh Raina.(AP)
File image of Suresh Raina. (AP)

Suresh Raina’s Test career never flourished as he played only 18 matches where he scored 768 runs at an average of 26.48. His journey in the longer format ended after he bagged a pair against Australia back in 2015 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

However, parking aside the disappointments, the southpaw had an impressive start to his Test sojourn back in 2010. Suresh Raina scored a century on debut against Sri Lanka at the SSC in Colombo. His 120-run knock was laced with 12 fours and two sixes before Ajantha Mendis dismissed him.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (BCCI)
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Suresh Raina Feels Virat Kohli Should Be Given A Bit More Time As Skipper

Suresh Raina has provided his take on Virat Kohli and his captaincy, believing that the skipper needs to be given a bit more time. Ever since India lost the World Test Championship final, there has been plenty of debate surrounding Virat Kohli’s future as India captain.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

Suresh Raina: Virat Kohli’s Record Proves That He Has Achieved A Lot Both As Batsman And Captain

Some feel that Virat Kohli, India’s most successful Test captain with 36 wins, should step down and allow the concept of split captaincy to embrace Indian cricket, while most continue to back the Indian captain to continue as its leader across all three formats given the contribution he has made to the team since his appointment.

File image of Suresh Raina.(AP)
File image of Suresh Raina. (AP)

Under Virat Kohli, India has come close thrice to lift an ICC Trophy – the Champions Trophy in 2017, the 2019 World Cup, and most recently, the WTC final – but have stumbled at the final hurdle.

With three consecutive World Cups(2021 and 2022 T20I World Cups and 2023 ODI World Cup) lined up, Suresh Raina is confident that Virat Kohli and India will get their hands on at least one ICC trophy in the near future.

“I think he has been the No. 1 captain. His record proves that he has achieved a lot. I think he is the No. 1 batsman in the world. You’re talking about an ICC trophy but he hasn’t even won an IPL yet. I feel that he needs to be given some time.

“There are 2-3 World Cups taking place one after the other – two T20 World Cups and then the 50-over World Cup. It’s not easy to reach the final – sometimes you miss out on a few things,” Suresh Raina told News24 Sports.

Suresh Raina pointed out that India lost the WTC final, not due to conditions but because the much-hyped batsmen could not perform up to expectations. Despite two entire days (1st and 4th days) getting washed out due to rain, the match ended up producing a winner on the reserve 6th day.

Needing to bat out four sessions, India was bowled out for 170 in their second innings as New Zealand chased down 139 to be crowned the inaugural World Test Champions. Weighing in on the same, Suresh Raina feels the senior batsmen needed to have shown a little more responsibility.

“The WTC final was one such example. People said it was because of the conditions but I feel there was something lacking in batting. The bigger batsmen will have to stitch partnerships and take responsibilities,” he added.

Virat Kohli, who was handed the reins for the final Test match against Australia on the 2014-15 tour, has led India in 61 Tests which is the most by an Indian skipper so far. Under Virat Kohli, India has won the most- 36 Test matches.

Suresh Raina: In The Next 12 To 16 Months, An ICC Trophy Awaits India

Following India’s eight-wicket defeat, fans called the Indian team chokers in social media and their performance in ICC tournaments. Responding to it, Suresh Raina defended India and predicted the team to bring home an ICC title within the next year and a half.

“See, we are not chokers, because we already have the 1983 World Cup, 2007 T20 World Cup the then 50-over World Cup in 2011. We need to understand that players are training hard. With three World Cups approaching, I don’t think anyone will call them chokers.

“We need to give them a little more time. They are doing well and Virat has the capability to change the game. We need to respect the new style of this team. But I feel that in the next 12 to 16 months, an ICC trophy is going to come to India,” Raina explained.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

While Virar Kohli’s predecessor MS Dhoni won 27 Test matches as captain and lost 18 in his 60 games in charge, Virat Kohli is also India’s most successful Test captain with 36 wins and 14 losses. MS Dhoni has led India in 332 international matches and India won 178 of those.

While India failed to win the T20 World Cups in 2014 and 2016 and the 2015 ODI World Cup under MS Dhoni, the talismanic captain had led the team to three ICC titles before that(2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 World Cup, 2013 Champions Trophy).

Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina (Image Credit: Twitter)
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3 Youngsters In Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, And Axar Patel Impress Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina is mighty impressed with some of the talented and young cricketers that the country has seen over the last year. They stamped their authority with impressive performances both at home and overseas. At present some of them are in England, readying for what promises to be a gruelling five-Test series, while another group is in Sri Lanka for three T20Is and as many ODIs.

Having made his India debut in 2005, Suresh Raina established himself as one of the key middle-order batsmen. Suresh Raina grew in stature before eventually, he announced his international retirement on August 15 last year.

Currently basking in the success of the release of his biography, Believe, 34-year-old Suresh Raina is enjoying life away from the field for the time being, and in an interview, he spoke on a range of topics. He was asked to name young players from the current India set-up that impressed him.

File image of Suresh Raina.(AP)
File image of Suresh Raina. (AP)

Suresh Raina Names Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, And Axar Patel As 3 Youngsters To Watch Out For

Suresh Raina named RCB opener Devdutt Padikkal (473 runs from 15 matches in IPL 2020 and  195 runs from six matches in IPL 2021) and CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad (204 runs averaging 51 in IPL 2020 and 196 runs in 7 games in IPL 2021) and Delhi Capitals spin all-rounder Axar Patel who performed well in absence of Ravindra Jadeja in his debut Test series against England.

Axar Patel made his Test debut in February 2021, six years after playing his maiden limited-overs match for India, and starred so much so with the ball that he ended up picking 27 wickets from the 3 matches in the series. He took 4 five-wicket hauls as England lost the series 3-1.

“I think Devdutt Padikkal from Karnataka. After him, Ruturaj Gaikwad from Maharashtra. He is a gun player. Axar Patel has worked really hard, and he performed brilliantly well in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja,” Raina said.

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

However, the one name that surprisingly eluded Suresh Raina’s list was that of Rishabh Pant, who has been a different player altogether since his return to the Test team in the series against Australia last year. He missed out on being considered a senior player after match-winning innings in Australia and against England at home.

“See, he has entered the senior category. He’s grown. He is also hitting fours now and not only sixes,” he explained.

Besides, Suresh Raina also picked out pacer Mohammed Siraj and credited Rahul Dravid for his contribution to Indian cricket.

Suresh Raina Credited Rahul Dravid Who Has Worked Hard With The Under 19 Team

Rahul Dravid, as a former coach of India A and Under-19 teams, has helped shape careers of some of Indian cricket’s promising youngsters such as Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, and continues to work towards its development as NCA chief and currently coach of the Indian team in Sri Lanka. Suresh Raina wished the Indian team well ahead of their series and sent his best wishes to captain Shikhar Dhawan.

“Even Mohammed Siraj is bowling so well. And somewhere I feel credit goes to Rahul Dravid who has worked extremely hard with the Under-19 team which is why he is with the senior team now and my best wishes to Shikhar Dhawan, that he does well and return to the Test team because he too is a very big player for India and he must be hoping to perform well in Sri Lanka,” Raina added.

Priyam Garg and Rahul Dravid. Pic: Twitter
Priyam Garg and Rahul Dravid. Pic: Twitter

Outside of the Indian team, Suresh Raina listed out names of some of the fringe players, who have produced consistent performances in both domestic cricket and the IPL.

“Then definitely Priyam Garg from Uttar Pradesh. Karn Sharma is another player from Uttar Pradesh who has performed really well. From Punjab, there is Abhishek Sharma, who has impressed me a lot. Sachin Baby is also putting in a lot of hard work,” he added.

Priyam Garg played 14 games in his debut IPL season in 2020 and scored one half-century managing 133 runs in 14 games. Abhishek Sharma has picked 5 wickets in 17 matches and scored 150 runs playing from 2019. Both plays for SRH. Karn Sharma has picked 59 scalps from 67 games while Sachin Baby hasn’t played after 2017 in the IPL.

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