Mahendra Singh Dhoni may be struggling for form in the ongoing Indian Premier League season but his former Chennai Super Kings teammate Suresh Raina said on Thursday that he was “disappointed” in the manner his skipper was treated by the Pune franchise.
“I was disappointed. He has done so well for the country as well as for the IPL teams. He should be respected every time. It’s about not me saying, it’s the world saying,” said Raina during an interview.
Dhoni has scored 61 runs in five games with a strike-rate of 87 but Raina heaped praise on his CSK captain. “Having shared the dressing room with him [for India and CSK], you know what goes through when one faces hardships,” said Raina. “He [Dhoni] should be respected as a player. In any profession, be it as a player or a journalist, you need to be respected. Even a player, however short his career span may be, wants to earn respect.”
But the Gujarat Lions skipper felt that the criticism did not really affect Dhoni the player. “I don’t think. He’s back among runs. Hope he will do well better after two-three matches. We have only played five matches. After sometime the picture will be clear. He should bat up the order and bat long. He’s a world class finisher,” said Raina.
Raina, however, misses his time with Chennai Super Kings. “The time I spent with Chennai Super Kings will always remain special. We have won so many trophies, be it IPL or Champions League T20. When I was very young, it gave me a great learning opportunity by being among all the legends,” said Raina.
Shifting the focus to Champions trophy, Raina backed Virat Kohli’s Indian team to retain the crown won in 2013. “Kohli has done really well in that department [passion and intensity]. I feel he will lift the Champions Trophy for India this time. He knows how to channelise his emotion into aggression,” Raina said. “Everyone supports him on the field. All the players like to play that way. If he starts scoring runs, I don’t think anyone can stop him from winning the Champions Trophy. He has done well in Test and one-day cricket. Now it’s time to go to England and do what MS did in ODIs [in 2013],” he added.
With Gujarat Lions struggling in the IPL this season, Raina said, “This time, we made some mistakes and we are not able to get our combination right. Bravo has been out; Jadeja could not play first two matches. It’s a matter of posting one big win.”