New Delhi, May 16: Senior India cricketer Suresh Raina believes Mahendra Singh Dhoni still has a lot of game left in him and that a young and aggressive cricketer like Virat Kohli requires the help of the senior-pro for as long as he could give.
Raina also believes that it is due to MS Dhoni's brilliance that is helping their franchise Chennai Super Kings to do so well in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018.
Talking to mykhel.com on the sidelines of an event in Gurugram, the 31-year-old batsman said MS Dhoni is in a sensational form and the Chennai Super Kings' skipper is very essential to Team India's success.
MS Dhoni has set some really high benchmarks in wicketkeeping department and the pertinent question of 'who after Dhoni?' has already started bothering the experts. Despite several youngsters being in contention for the job, the selectors haven't yet hinted towards an heir apparent.
When put up the same question, the cricketer who made his India debuted before Dhoni, said, "Firstly, I don't want him to go. If you look at the kind of form he's in I think nobody can replace him. He's batting phenomenally well and he's in a brilliant frame of mind. The way he gives his inputs to Virat (Kohli) on the field and his vast experience of the game is helping the side do well. Because Virat is kind of a captain who doesn't like losing so the longer MS stays, the stronger will be the side."
Lauding the role of Dhoni and Kohli behind team's success, Raina stated, "The team is doing exceptionally well under Virat's captaincy and the atmosphere is good. Everyone in the team is playing his part well and that is the reason why we are doing so well.
When questioned about the bright prospects of talented Rishabh Pant, who many former India cricketers believe has a perfect blend of Raina and Yuvraj Singh, the Uttar Pradesh cricketer said, "Even Paaji or God of Cricket (Sachin Tendulkar) said the same (smiles)."
Talking about Rishabh Pant the southpaw said, "Rishabh is one of my favourites. He's one of the top cricketers in the upcoming bunch of talents. The way he's playing is just amazing and he has a really bright future. If you see his present performance in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils, he's simply brilliant. Even last year when I was leading the Gujarat Lions franchise, the way he batted in that game (at Feroz Shah Kotla) and scored those 97 runs. You just feel being entertained. I am happy for the youngster and hopefully, he keeps doing well."
"If you talk about the youngsters then there is Ishan Kishan, who belongs to the same batch, and he's also a talented lad. We've seen quite a few young talents in this IPL already. The young leg-spinner from Mumbai Indians (referring to Mayank Markande) has also had an impressive journey so far. It feels really great to see youngsters from even financially weaker backgrounds are doing so well. They are getting to spend time with international players in the IPL and are getting to learn from them. I hope these budding talents carry forward the same intensity and momentum to the first-class cricket and gradually earn a call-up in the national side."
The stylish left-handed batsman from Uttar Pradesh has been in a prime form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) and a key member of the CSK franchise. The 'Chinna Thala' has already scored 300-plus runs in the home-grown league has been working well on his fitness to keep him in good shape.
Raina has been doing well for the national side ever since his return and the southpaw wants to translate the exploits in the T20Is to get an entry into the ODIs as well. When asked about filling in the void in India's middle-order in the 50-overs format Raina said that he's ready to play at any positing the captain and the coach want him to bat.
"I played at various stages in the limited-overs tournament in South Africa and even in the Nidahas Trophy. I have batted at various positions and did whatever the team management expected of me. So, yes I believe I could play in the middle-order for the team in the 50-overs format as well. I have been picked up for the Ireland and England T20I series and I possess the experience of playing under these conditions.
When asked about does he finds himself in the upcoming 2019 World Cup as the Indian limited-overs team for England tour has already been selected the Chennai Super Kings batsman said,"As of now, I am seeing myself playing in the playoffs (IPL). I am focussing what is it in the near future i.e. IPL. We are doing well in the league and I want to perform well for my franchise.
"Once the IPL is over I'll spend some quality time with my daughter, wife and my mom and dad. After that we have the England tour lined up and hope to do well there. Will think about next year's World Cup later. (says on a lighter note)."