CSK brought in England all-rounder and Test captain Ben Stokes, perhaps with an eye on the future. However, former batter Suresh Raina has a different opinion on who should succeed Dhoni.
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) found themselves in a precarious situation when Ravindra Jadeja stepped down as captain mid-season last year, leaving the reins in the hands of MS Dhoni once again. As the four-time winners gear up for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, all eyes are on Dhoni, who has promised to play his final IPL game in front of the Chepauk crowd.
With Jadeja out of the picture, CSK brought in England all-rounder and Test captain Ben Stokes, perhaps with an eye on the future. However, former batter Suresh Raina has a different opinion on who should succeed Dhoni.
Raina believes that young opener Ruturaj Gaikwad would make an excellent captain for CSK after Dhoni. Gaikwad had a rocky start to his IPL career in 2020 but bounced back with three consecutive half-centuries before winning the Orange Cap in CSK's title-winning season in 2021, scoring an impressive 635 runs. While Stokes may be a valuable addition to the team, Raina's endorsement of Gaikwad speaks volumes about the young player's potential as a leader.
During an interview with Jio Cinema, Suresh Raina expressed his desire for Ruturaj Gaikwad to be mentored by the experienced duo of MS Dhoni and himself. Raina acknowledged Dhoni's exceptional cricketing acumen and his ability to guide young players. He also praised Gaikwad's performance in the current season and wished him success in his future endeavors.
"Abhi Mahi bhai hain, I really want Ruturaj Gaikwad to nurture around him. I think, Mahi bhai has a good brain. Definitely, he is around the boys. So yeah, I would say, hopefully, Ruturaj Gaikwad," Raina said.
Raina, who is currently representing Indian Maharajas in the Legends League Cricket (LLC) also expressed his hope that Dhoni would be available to play in the exhibition tournament next year. However, he was uncertain whether 2023 would be the legendary captain's final season in the IPL. Despite this uncertainty, Raina remained highly optimistic, stating that Dhoni has been looking incredibly fit during training. He believes that if he maintains his current level of fitness, he will be able to play in the tournament next year.
Speaking on the sidelines of LLC Masters, Raina said, "I wish he could, but we’ll have to see what his commitments are. He can play the IPL next year as well, you never know.”
The India Maharajas have already been eliminated from the competition with three losses in four games.