If MS Dhoni is the king pin at CSK, then Suresh Raina is certainly the prince of Chepauk, as the classy left-hander has become an icon for the wonderful fans of Chennai.
A bonafide IPL legend, Suresh Raina has been a wonderful player for CSK as he was one of the fulcrums of the mighty side from Chennai. His performances were crucial to CSK’s success over the years, and will be once again expected to shine for his old team this year.
In a recent interview, Raina spoke of his time with Chennai Super Kings, and how they shaped him a real cricket player.
“We have played so many matches together. We had to play for CSK again. In fact, I became a real player in Chennai.”
“The coaches and the players there like Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Muttiah Muralitharan had a fine influence on me. I have learnt a lot from them. It’s not a team but like a family.”
“The amount of love I have got from fans was great. It was a great team atmosphere. Many players like (Ravichandran) Ashwin, (Pawan) Negi, Jadeja came up from CSK.
“You have to perform to play and I’m looking forward to play for Chennai again. We all are excited to regroup,” he said.
Raina also spoke about his fitness regime as of late, and how he is trying to get into the best shape of his career.
“It’s one aspect you do everyday and it’s not only about gyming alone. It’s about spending time on the field. You have to have a street smart brain.”
“You have to bowl at the nets for two hours everyday, you have to be on your toes. And you have to be strong in shoulder to bat well.”
“Gyming is one thing but you have to do a lot of strengthening as well. At the same time you have to ensure that you body regroups. It’s very much demanding. Still I would say it’s 40 per cent gym and 60 per cent skill,” Raina added.
“I play each and every tournament with the same intent. The tournament has many big names and before the IPL and upcoming Asia Cup it’s a nice opportunity.”
“There are a lot of exciting youngsters like Rinku Singh, there’s also Kuldeep (Yadav) who will play a couple of matches before heading to South Africa. It’s a chance to see many youngsters,” Raina said.
“The small town cricketers have done well in recent times. Look at (Mohammed) Shami. Bhuvi (Bhuvneswar Kumar) comes from Meerut, there’s also Praveen (Kumar), Zaheer. All these players have changed the mindset,” he said.
Raina also spoke of the Indian team’s current struggles in South Africa.
“They have done well, almost won the first Test. We fought hard and bowled well. South Africa too have not been able to score runs against us. From four innings they (South Africa) are yet to score a century,” he said referring to Virat Kohli’s 153 in the second Test at Centurion.
“Our batting has done well in patches. We have to support the team. We cannot dismiss them, we have some big names who have done well over the years,” he concluded.