Chennai Super Kings went to the UAE to prepare for the 13th season of the Indian Premier League and looked to be in full flow with captain MS Dhoni and vice-captain Suresh Raina leading the charge. But soon news emerged that Raina would have to return back to India due to personal reasons. It wasn’t specified why Raina returned to India but there had been several floating reports regarding the matter.
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Raina’s absence will be a big loss for CSK as he has been an integral part of their success in the past with consistent performances in the middle order. The team management will have to deal with his absence and find someone to hold the batting department together.
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Shane Watson recently talked about Raina’s departure, stating it would be hard to replace the batsman in the upcoming season due to his phenomenal record in the IPL.
“We have to (deal with the absence of Raina, Harbhajan). The great thing with CSK, as with all IPL squads, is that they have a lot of depth. It’s going to be incredibly hard to replace Suresh Raina. You can’t. He scored the second-most runs in the IPL, played the most games in IPL history. He has got records left, right and centre,” said Watson on a YouTube show hosted by Nabeel Hashmi.
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“He is going to be hugely missed, knowing the conditions in the UAE is hot, more chances of wickets being drier and turning a bit more. Raina plays spin incredibly well as well.”
But it isn’t as if Watson doesn’t have a player in mind who could take Raina’s place for the upcoming season. Watson feels Murali Vijay is a capable batsman who has what it takes to perform for CSK in the UAE.
“No doubt he [Raina] is a big loss but we have got someone like Murali Vijay, who is a gun player. In T20 cricket, he has not got a lot of opportunities in the last few years. But he is a seriously good batsman. He was sitting on the sidelines last year, he might get more opportunities this year,” said Watson.
CSK open their campaign on September 19 against defending champions Mumbai Indians.