Suresh Raina believes in striking the right chord on time. When he got the opportunity to lead new franchise Gujarat Lions in IPL9, the first step was to pick his men, especially those he knew well.
First, he picked his colleagues from the now-suspended Chennai Super Kings, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, who were instrumental in making CSK a winning unit. He then signed trusted men from the domestic circuit, especially six from Uttar Pradesh.
“This was intentional and natural. I knew my colleagues at CSK well, whereas being the skipper of UP we had won the prestigious T20 trophy at home, so I had all the reasons to pick them,” Raina told HT on Friday.
“Many criticised me for trusting my team players in domestic cricket, but I had no other choice. I always wanted my men around me as I wanted to feel confident and budget was a constraint as well.
“Trusting your men isn’t wrong and one can see the result of that. Everyone performed to his capacity and we are on the verge of making the playoffs,” he said, adding, “Other than the UP players, Dinesh Karthik, etc are well known as we have played together for long.
“Certainly, it wasn’t an easy task to take a new side to such heights in this form of competitive cricket, but everyone supported us well and if we win the IPL, it would be a great achievement not for the franchise but for the players also as it will change their lives.”
Raina accepted his man management skills have been good. “I learnt this art from MS Dhoni and Rahul Dravid. I came to know how one should act as a leader and when to pull the right strings for the success of a player and team.”
The man, who completed 4000 runs in IPL during Thursday’s match against the Knight Riders here, accepted that planning too had helped the side go up the ladder. “Brad Hodge has been a great support to the side as well as others and everyone knows his job.”
While the IPL is all about pressure, Raina refused to accept it as a gateway to the India team. “Domestic cricket is the only way to make it to Team India as it needs a lot of patience and quality in performance. You can earn name and fame through the IPL but getting into serious cricket you can’t ignore domestic cricket,” he said.