Suresh Raina has been often referred to as ‘Mr IPL’ by his fans. His records in the IPL are extraordinary. In addition to that, he also has the title of being the mainstay of the batting unit of a side, which is regarded as the best ever T20 side in the world, by many experts.
In 193 matches, the 34-year-old has scored 5368 runs at an average of 33.34. His strike rate is 137, which is extremely good for someone with those many innings. His form in the cash-rich league has dropped slightly in the past few years, but his ability to play a match-winning role still persists. The left-handed batsman had decided to pull off of the 2020 season in the UAE due to personal reasons.
In recent times, there have been speculations that the veteran, who hasn’t played for India since 2018 and retired from international cricket last year in August, could be released right before the IPL 2021 auction by his franchise, Chennai Super Kings.
If the speculations were to be true, there would be a few teams who could add Raina to their ranks. Some teams would actually look to get into a bidding war for the second-highest run-getter in the league’s history.
Here are three teams who would actually be interested in Suresh Raina:
1. Rajasthan Royals
The Jaipur-based franchise had a brilliant start to the IPL, winning the inaugural season by beating Chennai Super Kings in the final, way back in 2008. At the moment, no one would have expected that 13 seasons into the league’s inception, they would be searching for their second title. In the 2020 season, Steve Smith led the side in the UAE and the Royals finished at the bottom of the points table.
Even though they won six out of their 14 matches, their net run rate pulled them down to the eighth position. However, in recent times, there have been talks that Royals likely to release Smith in the upcoming auction. He was handed over the captaincy of the franchise after the 2015 season. Ajinkya Rahane had briefly led the side for one whole season, but he decided to drop himself from the role midway through his second season as the captain.
If Smith was going to be released by the Royals, the franchise could look for an Indian captain this time. Suresh Raina brings a lot to the table and his experience in the middle order and ability to lead the team could just cut it for the franchise.
2. Kings XI Punjab
The franchise from Punjab was being led by KL Rahul in the IPL 2020. This was the first time he was captaining any IPL team and he did quite a good job as he led from the front. He was the highest run-scorer in the tournament, having scored 670 runs. His batting performance was top-notch but wasn’t really enough to help his side into the playoffs.
Punjab was stuck at the sixth position having won only six of their 14 matches. It was a disappointing season for the Kings XI franchise, who along with Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore are the only three franchises that haven’t lifted the title even once.
As their search for the maiden title win continues, the Kings XI might want to add to their batting arsenal, especially by packing with quality Indian batsmen. Raina will surely add experience to their line-up and also can act as a senior pro guiding Rahul in key decisions during the tournament.
Something which many experts had complained about Rahul’s composure as a captain was that he sometimes didn’t get all the decisions right during the pressure times. This is one area where Raina can come in handy for the side, as he has a huge experience of playing in high-pressure T20 matches.
3. Royal Challengers Bangalore
‘Ee sala cup namde?’ The anthem of the Royal Challengers Bangalore has almost turned into a question for every IPL season. Bangalore has had one of the best sides in the IPL ever since its inception. However, something that has bugged everyone is the fact that they haven’t been able to win a single season. Even in the 2020 edition, after showing promise at the start of the season, Bangalore failed to capitalize and go the distance.
Bangalore had managed to qualify for the playoffs as the fourth-placed side in the league stages but lost their first playoff match which knocked them out of the tournament. There have been many false speculations that RCB might finally release Virat Kohli from the franchise. But, no one can deny that what he adds as a batsman is almost unparalleled to anyone else. He is the best batsman in the world and letting him go could be a gamble.
What Bangalore could actually benefit from is one experienced Indian batsman. It has been always debated whether the RCB side depends too much on just Kohli and AB de Villiers, but eventually, they can settle this debate by getting an experienced player in their ranks. Raina can solidify their middle-order and will bring a lot of experience. He can be part of the leadership group for the side and help them finally get to their first title.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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