File image of Suresh Raina (TOI Photo)
KOLKATA: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batsman Suresh Raina feels fitness and clarity of thought will be the key when players take the field to participate in the 13th edition of of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which will be played in the UAE.
The BCCI will be organising the league at three venues — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah — from September 19 to November 10 after it was postponed from its original start date of March 29 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This IPL, it would be very interesting to see how players are thinking, you are playing in different circumstances, you have a lot of protocols from ICC and at the same time you are going through tests every two-three weeks. So I would say coming out from all those tests, you need to be clear with your head on what you are going to do on the field because at the end of the day, when you are playing a sport, you need to enjoy your game,” Raina said on Wednesday during a webinar interaction on the sidelines of the launch of a fantasy gaming app.
“Then you can come out of the ground as a happy soul. So I believe all tests will be done before the IPL and we will be in a good frame of mind because we all are sitting at home from the last five months. I’m looking forward to this,” added the 33-year-old.
Raina, the second highest run-getter in IPL history, also opined the wickets in Dubai would be like the ones in Chennai.
“There (wickets in Dubai) could be Chennai wickets. In this pandemic, a lot of challenges have happened (for the players) and fitness is the key,” he said.
“Luckily, we are going early to the UAE, so I think right now there is humidity in Dubai, the weather is 40 degrees Celsius, sandstorm is there. But the best thing in Dubai is that you don’t have logistical problems, it is 45 minutes from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, you go from there to Sharjah, it’s 40 minutes,” said Raina, who was part of India’s 2011 World Cup-winning team.
The left-handed batsman also said that during this long break due to the pandemic, he got time to reflect on the time he spent on the field and analyse his performances over the years.
“We have not had such a long break. You look back at your old innings. You reflect on what you were thinking at that time and try to analyse. So when I hit the greens now, I feel we will enjoy a lot this time,” Raina said.