Suresh Raina on CSK captain: Super Kings’ vice-captain opined on playing in front of empty stadiums in UAE and captain MS Dhoni.
Chennai Super Kings vice-captain Suresh Raina considers playing without spectators in the 13th season of the Indian Premier League as a challenge. For a team which receives local support in the form of Chennai’s loyal spectators, players are bound to feel the difference while playing in an empty stadium.
“That would be a challenge and I was reading somewhere that we might have 30-40% crowds. But even then, it would be difficult. We will be missing our Chennai crowd. But this year we have an extra responsibility.
“Since all the fans will be watching the game on TV, we need to make sure the best cricket is played and we need to go out there and play strong for CSK,” Raina was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times on the sidelines of being appointed as the brand ambassador for fantasy gaming platform WTF Sports.
Raina, who is an all-time IPL great with 5,368 runs at an average and strike rate of 33.34 and 137.14 respectively and including a century and 38 half-centuries, is only 44 runs behind Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli in the list of highest run-scorers in the tournament.
Other than Raina, Pakistan batsmen Imam-ul-Haq and Fawad Alam, former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, fast bowler Pat Cummins and batsmen Usman Khawaja and Matthew Wade, veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh, veteran New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor, veteran England seamer James Anderson and Ollie Pope have all been vocal about playing top-level cricket without spectators.
Suresh Raina on CSK captain
Raina, 33, last played competitive cricket more than a year ago during last year’s IPL. However, the southpaw remains confident of adding value to Super Kings’ IPL 2020 season and also remains confident of their experienced players coming good for them in UAE.
“I think experience will matter. In the UAE there are a lot of big grounds and we also have a lot of quality players who have played lot of leagues around the world like Shane Watson, DJ Bravo.
“With MS Dhoni at the helm, we have a lot of experience to tackle all that. As a batsman I can assure you that we will just go out on the field and express ourselves. We have played in those conditions before and once we have a camp there, we will know how it works,” Raina said.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) August 4, 2020
Apart from Raina, Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni remains another player who hasn’t played top-level cricket for more than a year now. Having practiced alongside Dhoni in March, Raina opened up on the 39-year old player’s keenness to play the extravagant T20 league.
“I was there with him [in Chennai] and he was practising really hard. Hopefully, you will see his helicopter shot soon. He’s been a great brand ambassador for IPL and such a great cricketer. You will see him in his best fighting spirit. He’s all pumped up and looking forward to going to UAE and entertain all his fans,” Raina added.