New Delhi: Former Australia batsman Brad Hodge was today named coach of the newly-unveiled IPL team Gujarat Lions, which will make its debut under Suresh Raina's captaincy this season. With Suresh Raina as captain, the Rajkot-based franchise and the Pune Super Giants will replace the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in the league.
The Gujarat team owner Keshav Bansal announced former renowned T20 freelancer Hodge as the chief coach of the team at a press conference here.
After playing for eight years in CSK, Raina said he is wondering how the scene would be when his team faces Pune, which is being led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni -- the man who Marshalled CSK so far. "We (him and Dhoni) have played together enough including a few finals and I know how to stop him. Imagine Dhoni getting out to Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) and (Dwayne) Bravo dancing," a smiling Raina said as he was officially unveiled as captain of the Rajkot-based IPL team Gujarat Lions.
Raina said having James Faulkner in the squad will add to the balance of the side. "Myself, Jadeja, McCullum and Dwayne Bravo have already
played together for the CSK. With Faulkner joining us, the team will have great balance. I hope we will get good players from the auction too.
"There is a lot of talented Indian as well as overseas cricketers in the auction pool," said the left-hander, who has played a record 214 T20 matches which includes international, IPL and domestic appearances. While CSK will not be a part for the next two years, Raina feels the former BCCI president N Srinivasan's franchise made him a "better cricketer".
"It would be emotional moment for me as I would play for a different team this year. In the last eight years, I have never missed an IPL game and the stint with CSK has made me a matured cricketer. But Gujarat never had an IPL team before and I would like everyone to come to Rajkot and support us."