The 2023 edition of the Indian Premier League begins on March 31 with defending champions Gujarat Titans taking on the Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad. A number of CSK players including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni have already started preparations for the new season in the side’s camp organised in Chennai. The Super Kings bolstered their squad in the auction as they won an intense bidding war for England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes; the Englishman is now widely touted to be CSK’s next captain after Dhoni.
However, the franchise’s former cricketer and one of their best performers of all time, Suresh Raina believes that it could actually be Ruturaj Gaikwad who takes over the reins from Dhoni, once the wicketkeeper-batter decides to steps down or retire from the league. Gaikwad made his CSK debut in the 2020 edition of the tournament and enjoyed a breakthrough season a year later, when he won the Orange Cap.
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Gaikwad scored 635 runs in 16 matches, scoring at a strike rate of 136.26 and also hitting his first century of the tournament. He also had four half-centuries to his name in the 2021 edition.
“I want Ruturaj Gaikwad to be nurtured around him. Mahi bhai has a good brain, he’s around the boys. I would say Ruturaj Gaikwad, he has done really well, I want him to do well for the country as well as for CSK,” Raina told JioCinema when he was asked on who should succeed Dhoni as skipper.
Raina ended his reply with a remark that suggests Gaikwad might as well succeed Dhoni. “Rutu, good luck for your captaincy, brother,” Raina said.
CSK will be aiming at a strong improvement in their performances from their previous season, where they finished a dismal 9th. The side won four of its 14 matches, finishing only above Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians in the points table. Ahead of the 2022 season, Dhoni had handed his captaincy to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja; however, the move didn’t work out well for the CSK as the side slumped to a series of defeats early into the season.