MS Dhoni is the best captain in IPL: Suresh Raina to India Today

first_imgHaving recently passed the Yo-Yo test with flying colours, star batsman Suresh Raina is now looking at this year’s Indian Premier League as his biggest opportunity to make a comeback into the Indian team.Raina has always been a darling of the masses in Chennai and so after a two-year wait, the highest run-scorer in IPL history was kept off the auction table and retained by the Chennai Super Kings franchise for Rs 11 crore, along with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.With his IPL team sorted for the next five years, the next step for the 31-year-old is to get his place back in the Indian team middle-order where he has a terrific record as a No. 4 and No. 5 batsman.The Uttar Pradesh cricketer has played 223 ODIs for India and amassed 5568 runs at 35.46 with five hundreds and 36 fifties. Throughout his career Raina has played 18 knocks at No. 4 and scored 675 runs at an average of 45 with one hundred and six half-centuries. He has batted at No.5 on 81 occasions and has three hundreds with an impressive strike-rate and average.The #KnowledgeableChennaiCrowd awaits you Chinna Thala @ImRaina! �???#ReturnOfTheSuperKings #SummerIsComing #WhistlePodu pic.twitter.com/Ze27oU5KfN- Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) January 4, 2018Raina is the all-time leading run-scorer in the IPL with 4540 runs. He is currently 122 runs ahead of Virat Kohli (4418 runs), who was also retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore.Raina is now looking forward to the challenges ahead and is gearing up for a gruelling season with IPL being a very big part of it.advertisementHe spoke to India Today on Tuesday about his return to Chennai Super Kings, reuniting with MS Dhoni and how leading Gujarat Lions for two seasons changed him as a player and a batsman.Excertps from the interview:Rohan Sen: You will reunite with MS Dhoni after two years. What are your first feelings?Suresh Raina: Overall in the past eight years if you see, the most important thing about CSK is that we play as a team.And playing with MS I think it’s always good to go back in your own den and you know everything so well…From the administration to coaching to the doctors to trainers. The amount of love we got from CSK was tremendous and I think they have a very good crowd, we played so many matches there, we played so many finals there, we have also lost finals there but love from the crowd is still the same.I’ve become a matured player there. I’ve worked with Stephen Fleming, Kepler Wessels, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey. I’ve been lucky to have many left-handers in my team when I started off and having MS Dhoni in your side is great because he is so calm. The best thing about him is he does everything very calmly.I’m very excited to play in yellow again.Thirumbi vandhutomnu sollu. �?���?���?��#ReturnOfTheSuperKings #SummerIsComing #WhistlePodu pic.twitter.com/rlCISI9iXQ- Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) January 4, 2018RS: What was it like playing against MS Dhoni in the IPL in last two seasons?Raina: First year he was captain, we played four games, three we won and one we lost. I think the setup was same, Dhoni was handling everything, Fleming was there. If you see our team Gujarat Lions, we had the same core from CSK in myself, Brendon McCullum, Andrew Tye, Ravindra Jadeja etc. So the six of them were from CSK only. So only the support staff changed.Having Michael Hussey as the batting coach will give us more energy and knowledge in the dressing room this season because he is such a player who is always busy doing something. Either with batting or fielding or net practice because he is such a great guy to have in your team and as a batting coach he will add a lot of valuable stuff.(BCCI Photo)RS: Chennai Super Kings is the most popular IPL team because of players like Dhoni, yourself and Jadeja. What does the team mean to you personally and professionally?Raina: I think when you suddenly have to move out of your home (referring to Gujarat Lions) it becomes a bit emotional, but that’s what IPL cricket is all about. I have got a lot of support from Gujarat Lions and when I go back to CSK I think this year will be emotional. I will be looking to add more value to the team, exciting times ahead for us. Looking forward to play with CSK again.RS: What according to you has been the reason behind CSK’s success in the IPL? Two titles in three years, runners-up on four occasions.advertisementRaina: Having the best domestic and international players I think. All the planning and discipline. We had less quantity but more quality. The practice, administration were great. On top of that, when you have great cricketers like Murali Vijay, myself, Hussey, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel and even Ashish Nehra, who has done so much for CSK in the last few years. Domestic players have to be of quality when your playing IPL. Even Dwayne Smith and all…they have done so much for us but I think it’s all about having good domestic players. When we go there (to CSK) it will be more like a family get together.To more incredible victories for the Yellow Brigade with @imjadeja! �???#ReturnOfTheSuperKings #SummerIsComing #WhistlePodu pic.twitter.com/27qw0SOfIG- Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) January 4, 2018RS: Will there be extra pressure on the three of you (Dhoni, Raina, Jadeja) because of your massive influence in the success of the team?Raina: I won’t say there will be pressure. It’s all about how you enjoy more. When you play as a captain, when you play as a team man. Lot of talent is coming up from TNPL (Tamil Nadu Premier League). There are a lot of talented cricketers coming up from Tamil Nadu as well like Washington Sundar, who also played for India. So for a professional cricketer, go there, spend a few days in the camp and start playing.RS: Will this season in the IPL remind you of the inaugural edition? You guys will start from scratch and the core has not played for two years.Raina: MS Dhoni is going to be the captain, I’m going to be the vice-captain, Jadeja is also going to be there. Then there are certain players in the auction. We all will be having a meeting soon and then decide what planning we will be having for the auction. I have already got the sheet, I’ll have a go through it, MS will also go through it. It’s important to have few important quality Indian players. This year you will have the best team in CSK, I have a feeling. Because two years I have played for Gujarat, he (Dhoni) played in Pune and played a lot of matches for India also and then I’ve been playing a lot of domestic games…I’ve seen a lot of talent.(BCCI Photo)RS: You are the highest scorer in IPL history but Kohli has been giving you stiff competition. How do you see that IPL rivalry?Raina: No rivalry, we both are Indians. It’s always good to be highest run-scorer. If you see last time, I love to attack the bowlers and I’ve been very successful in this format because I’ve worked really hard and got a lot of opportunity to bat till the last over. Because when you bat up the order, you always have the license to plan yourself and I’ve always done well for CSK in big games. So I know what the captain, coach demand from me and I will do so as a No. 3 player. So my game will be the same and this time I look very fit. So this time you will see a different Raina in the IPL because in the last 9-10 months I’ve worked really hard and hopefully this IPL I’ll do the same.advertisementThakida thakida thakida Thala @msdhoni!#ReturnOfTheSuperKings#SummerIsComing #WhistlePodu #goosebumps �??� pic.twitter.com/hnkcXN6QOv- Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) January 4, 2018RS: You have been one of the most celebrated middle-order batsmen in limited-overs cricket over the years. Now you are fighting fit again. IPL is a great opportunity for you to get back into the Indian team you feel?Raina: Definitely. I’ve played all those tournaments and domestic competitions and I haven’t missed a single game. It’s just a matter of one good season and I will be back because I am a fighter and I love what I got from my team — India and always try to win games for my country and coming back to CSK will give me one more season to improve as a person and a player. Because we will have Fleming — the best coach in the IPL. On top of that, we will have best captain in IPL in Dhoni. As a player I have done so much. It will be a great opportunity for me to go there and see what I can get from MS and others.last_img