Earlier before the tournament started, experienced campaigner Suresh Raina had announced that he would not be taking part in this edition of the IPL owing to personal reasons.
But after three games, the latest news has indicated that Raina could make a comeback, provided the team management gives the approval. This comes after successive losses to Rajasthan and Delhi, where CSK find themselves 5th in the team standings with an NRR of -0.840.
But, CSK CEO Kasi Vishwanathan has ruled out any such move, stating that the current crop of players will be the ones to put back the team to winning ways. He is quoted as saying, “See, we cannot look at Raina because he made himself unavailable and we respect his decision and his space. We are not thinking about it.” Chennai have also not benefitted from the loss of Ambati Rayudu due to a hamstring injury.
The effect could be seen in the last two games, with no one sticking to accelerate the pace in the middle overs of the run chase. Openers Watson and Vijay have not fired, Du Plessis and Jadhav take time to settle while despite Dhoni’s best efforts, CSK is far behind the asking rate. Factor in Raina’s absence and there is no stability as such in the middle order for the Yellow Army.
There is a good reason that CSK have been struggling as far as batting is concerned. With an average of 33.3 and strike rate of 137, Raina often played the role of an anchor in the batting lineup. He has single handedly won matches for the team and sometimes supported the likes of Faf, Watson and Dhoni to put CSK over the line.
The loss of an important player like Raina was always going to hurt Chennai. But now, if he is even remotely interested in joining back then he should be allowed to. It just might change the fortunes of a team that has almost always qualified for the playoffs.
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