Suresh Raina, on a day when Brendon McCullum broke the record for the fastest Test hundred, said he couldn’t be happier to have the Kiwi swashbuckler in his Indian Premier League (IPL) team Gujarat Lions even though he wants an Indian to breach the milestone. (Brendon McCullum Shatters Records Again, Blasts Fastest Century In Farewell Test)
Asked if McCullum breaking a 30-year-old record of Sir Viv Richards (which he jointly shared with Misbah ul Haq) will make it easier for new generation of batsmen to have a shot at glory, Raina said: “I am very happy for McCullum but I hope that somebody from India can do it. I am happy that we have McCullum in Gujarat Lions team. He is a fearless cricketer and we want players who will be playing fearless cricket.” (Brendon McCullum World Record Century Steals The Show On Opening Day of Second Test Against Australia)
Speaking at the launch of the Gujarat Lions’ team jersey, Raina said captaincy is “just a designation” for him as he does not look at it as a vehicle for something bigger (Indian captaincy in limited overs format).
“Captaincy is just a designation for me. It is the performance that wins you matches. It is all about how one performs on a particular day. My job is simple. I have to deliver for the Gujarat Lions. Right now, the focus is on Asia Cup, then we have the World T20 and then comes the IPL. We will have a camp in Gujarat with domestic players before IPL. It is important to have a balanced team with good domestic players.”
He once again stated that it will be emotional for him to play for another franchise after eight years with the formidable Chennai Super Kings.
“I have played for CSK non-stop for eight years without missing a single game. So it will be emotional for me. But at the same time, we have a very good team at the Gujarat Lions.”
Raina has no problems batting at No 4 in the Indian team despite being a No 3 batsman for CSK in the IPL. “I don’t see it as a problem as we have big hitters across all slots. Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya can play big shots. It is important to now maintain a consistent performance graph from here till the World T20. We have a good mix of youth and experience in our team. There are members of the 2007 World T20 team as well as the 2011 World Cup team. we are fortunate to have them.”