Chennai Super Kings batsman Suresh Raina has provided an update on MS Dhoni’s plans in the IPL 2020, revealing that the CSK captain is expected to join the CSK camp during the first week of April for training
Few people know Dhoni better than Raina. The two have shared the Indian and the CSK dressing room for numerous years and are known to be close friends. On what the future holds for India’s most successful captain, Raina revealed he would personally want Dhoni to play further, but added that if the former India captain wants to go out, he won’t make much noise about it.
“Dhoni will probably be coming to Chennai in the first week of the IPL,” Raina told Times of India. “Right now, it is so good to see him spending a lot of time with his family. If he wants to leave the game, he will go out without making a big fuss. I want to see him continue to play. He is looking fit and has been training hard. I still think the Indian team needs him. But it is Virat’s call on how they go forward.”
A knee injury has kept him out of action since the 2019 IPL, but having successfully undergone a second surgery in August, Raina is back training with former India and CSK trainer Greg King. He last played for India in 2018 – the ODI series in England – and although the 33-year-old is out of contention for a recall, Raina believes a good IPL 2020 season could see him make a comeback and perhaps bag a berth in India’s squad for the T20 World Cup.
“It is too early right now. I have always enjoyed my cricket, irrespective of where I play. I have not set any target right now. If I am able to do well in the IPL, I will be able to understand how I am shaping up. I have played enough to know what the situation demands. So my T20 World Cup hopes depend on my performance in the IPL. If I can make my knee strong and have a good IPL, then I know that I have another 2-3 years of cricket left in me. There are two back-to-back World Cups. I have done well in T20 cricket,” Raina said.
“Definitely. But if I want to play, I need to perform. The IPL is the best platform to get into the team especially when you are talking about the T20 World Cup. Everyone knows what sort of a player I am.”
Under the formative years of Dhoni’s captaincy, Raina used to be one of the linchpins of India’s middle order. Regarding the inconsistency in the current Indian batting order, where the likes of Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey are being shuffled or left out, Raina insisted Virat Kohli and the management must persist with the youngsters and hand them a longer rope.
“The support of the captain and team management will definitely solve this middle-order drama. You can’t expect (Shreyas) Iyer and (Rishabh) Pant to score big runs in every game. You have to give them the assurance that they will not be dropped. Iyer is very good at No. 4. I am sure Pant too will make a lot of difference because he is a left-hander. So I am sure they will give youngsters the right advice,” he said.
“For any newcomer, it is important to get a lot of opportunities I was lucky to play under Rahul Dravid when I came in. He gave me a lot of opportunities. Then I played under MS Dhoni who understood my game. When Rohit (Sharma) and Virat (Kohli) get out, there is so much pressure on the middle-order. You face different situations all then time when you are playing in these slots. I used to believe in myself. The skipper too has an important role to play.”