IPL 2021: Suresh Raina will add lot of value to CSK, he is the cushion MS Dhoni always had, says Pragyan Ojha

1 month ago 16

Former India spinner and Indian Premier League governing council member Pragyan Ojha said on Tuesday that Suresh Raina's return will be a big boost to Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2021. Ojha highlighted that CSK missed their 'Chinna Thala' last season wherein they missed a berth in the play-offs for the first time in the history of the tournament.

Speaking to Sports Today, Pragyan Ojha said Suresh Raina had been a pillar of strength for CSK not just because of his all-round abilities but also by having been a major source of support to captain MS Dhoni.

Suresh Raina had pulled out of IPL 2020, citing personal reasons. Raina, who is nicknamed Mr. IPL, had taken part in the SK training camp in Chennai and even announced his international retirement along with Dhoni during their stay in the South Indian city. However, after reaching the UAE, Raina decided to return home, leading to several speculations about his relationship with the franchise and its captain.

However, CSK quashed all rumours by retaining Suresh Raina ahead of IPL 2021 auction. The ever-consistent left-hander, who is second only to Virat Kohli on the list of most runs in the T20 tournament, has reunited with MS Dhoni as CSK are gearing up for IPL 2021 with a training camp in Mumbai.

"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," 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."

'He should go out and play the way he has been playing'

Suresh Raina has not played competitive cricket at the highest level since IPL 2019. The all-rounder though warmed up to the IPL by featuring in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Uttar Pradesh earlier this year.

Ojha believes that it is not easy for even the best in the business to return to peak form after a 2-year hiatus but he backed Raina to deliver and score big for Chennai Super Kings in the new season.

"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.

"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 begin their IPL 2021 campaign on April 10 in Mumbai where they take on Delhi Capitals.