Chennai Super Kings (CSK) veteran left-hand batsman Suresh Raina has dropped a hint that he could be the team’s next full-time captain with the legendary MS Dhoni expected to hang his boots in the near future.
Raina has been with CSK since the inception of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and is one of the best performers with the bat in the league’s history. The 34-year-old cricketer has played 200 matches in his IPL career so far with 5,491 runs at an average of 33.07 and strike-rate of 136.89.
Raina has been the trusted deputy for Dhoni with CSK and has stand-up to lead the side from time to time. During his India playing days, he was appointed captain for the 2010 tour of Zimbabwe and the limited-overs leg of the West Indies trip in 2011. When CSK were facing an exile back in the 2016 and 2017 IPL seasons, Raina led the now-defunct Gujarat Lions.
In a video doing the rounds over Twitter, Suresh Raina spoke of his captaincy experiences and credentials and though the cricketer didn’t exactly say he could be the next man to lead CSK after Dhoni, he hinted there could be a seamless takeover, potentially after 2022 season.
— Raj (@im_Rajwardhan) September 17, 2021
“I captained UP’s victorious campaign in 2016, selectors were impressed. I captained Gujarat lions for 2 years did well there as well. Now we have started well this season. Now we will have to see 2-3 years whatever is left in me,” Raina said.
Suresh Raina likely to stay with CSK for another “2-3” years
While there have been suggestions for a complete overhaul of the playing group and someone young to be blood in as the new captain after Dhoni, those following CSK closely over the years would know, the franchise has always preferred to back the experienced individuals to do the tough jobs.
With that in mind and the fact that Suresh Raina is still only 34, he could be a strong candidate to replace Dhoni at the helm of affairs whenever the great wicketkeeper-batsman decides to call it quits.
Near the end of the video, Raina did hint that he could play in the CSK jersey for the next “2-3 years”. The focus for now, however, will be on finding consistent performances with the bat during the second half of the IPL 2021.
Raina didn’t play for CSK the previous year after making a last-minute withdrawal from the tournament in UAE. But upon return this year, he showed encouraging signs without dominating the scenes. He made 123 runs with one half-century from his seven innings of the Indian leg at a strike-rate of 126.80.