Mumbai, April 10: By now, Chennai Super Kings fandom might have realised how much they missed Suresh Raina. The Chinna Thala made a fifty against Delhi Capitals upon his return in the Yellow Jersey in the second match of the IPL 2021 at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday (April 10). Raina made a 36-ball 54.
In the IPL 2020, the Super Kings under MS Dhoni was ousted in the league stage itself, a first in their storied existence in the IPL. In fact, they finished in the bottom half of the table. The absence of Raina had played a major role in it.
The left-hander, often dubbed as Chinna Thala, had skipped the IPL 2020 owing to personal reasons. Raina had entered the bio-bubble in the UAE ahead of the last year's IPL but returned even before the tournament had begun. It had created some rumours of rift between Raina, Dhoni and the CSK management.
N Srinivasan, the former BCCI and ICC chief, and the Super Kings owner too aimed some criticism at Raina. "The season has not begun yet and Raina will certainly realise what he is missing and certainly all the money he is going to lose," Srinivasan had told the Outlook magazine last year.
However, he later toned down his words. "It is important to understand what Suresh is going through right now and give him space. The franchise will always stand by him and he has our complete support in these times of distress," Srinivasan said later.
All the talks created the impression that Chennai Super Kings and Raina might go separate ways ahead of IPL 2021 but the Chennai outfit retained ahead of the auction. Chennai also might have realised the absence of Raina had hampered their team balance in the IPL 2020 as they struggled to find an experienced player in the middle-order.
Raina is also the second highest run-getter in the IPL behind Virat Kohli with 5412 runs from 194 matches (before this match) with a hundred and 38 fifties. He averages 33.61 and has a strike-rate of 137.22.