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Former India and Chennai Super Kings ace batter, Suresh Raina at the launch of Elista by TeknoDome in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Former Chennai Super Kings’ star batter Suresh Raina feels the four-time champions need to invest more in Tamil Nadu-born players and is confident skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will bow out on a high in his swansong season in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023.

With the IPL player auction to take place in Kochi on Friday, Raina, who is adored by the Yellove fans as Chinnathala (Deputy Leader), said: “Right now I really want MSD to do well for CSK. He is going to play the last season and lots of fans are waiting for him to finish on a high. MSD is working hard and practicing really well. This season we should do really well and qualify for the top four.”

The 2021 champions did not have a good season in 2022, bowing out early after a bad start under Ravindra Jadeja with Dhoni subsequently taking over the reins. Still, it didn’t alter their destiny as the Super Kings finished ninth in the 10-team event.

Chennai culture and hospitality

The much-loved Raina left the team during the 2021 IPL and has since not played for the Yellow Lions.

“I am still wearing yellow. Played so many times. Love the culture and the hospitality. I love each and everything since 2008. I will come and support Dhoni. CSK is like a family for us. I love the Chennai culture and the hospitality and love each and everything since 2008,” said Raina at Elista brand launch, where he was the brand ambassador for the electronics and home appliances brand.

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Suresh Raina is currently the top scorer for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. Image Credit: Courtesy: SPORTZPICS for BCCI

Plenty of local talents

“Lots of young talents from Tamil Nadu should come into the CSK set-up and should play like when I, Badrinath, Murali Vijay, Anirudh Srikkanth, Vidyut Sivaraamkrishnan and Lakshmipathy Balaji. They have the Tamil Nadu Premier League and lots of young talents are there. So it’s time for the youth to come and play for CSK,” added the left-hander, who is the highest scorer for the Super Kings with 5,529 runs. Raina is followed by Dhoni with 4,853 runs. “May be Rituraj [Gaikwad] or Dhoni will overtake me,” he said.

A total of 405 cricketers will go under the hammer on Friday, after the initial list of 991 was trimmed down with an additional request of 36 players from the teams. Out of them are 273 Indian and 132 overseas players with four from associate nations who will take part in the IPL 2023.

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Chennai Super Kings winning the Indian Premier League 2021 in Dubai. Image Credit: Courtesy: SPORTZPICS for BCCI

Mentor role

Talking about MSD’s role as the coach in the Indian team, Raina was non-committal and said the Chennai Super Kings captain will take the call after his playing time, though he has played the role of a mentor during the Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai.

“He has done it in the past and definitely he must be in the scheme of things and BCCI must be thinking about it,” Raina said, while adding that India will be able to make amends for the recent failures in the last few World Cups. But to win the trophy, Raina feels India need to play fearless cricket on home soil.

“India have done really well in Tests and ODIs, but when it comes to World Cup, definitely we are not up to the mark, like what we used to do earlier. India have some good young players like Ishan Kishan, Shubhman Gill, Arshdep Singh and Kuldeep Yadav and Rohit Sharma has done well as a captain. We will crack it this time,” said a confident Raina, who was part of the World Cup winning team in 2011, incidentally the last time India have won the showpiece.