Suresh Raina, who will lead the new IPL team Gujarat Lions, says playing for a new team has a lot of challenges since it is like leaving behind the comforts of an old home.
Suresh Raina. Pic/Satej Shinde
"It's like leaving a house after living there for eight years. That makes a lot of difference. I had played eight years in IPL. I have learnt a lot of good things from the seniors with whom I have played," said Raina without naming his old, suspended franchise, Chennai Super Kings, at a promotional event for Gulf Petrochem.
Raina said his new franchise had quite a few match-winners like all rounder Dwayne Bravo, who was part of recently crowed World T20 champions West Indies, and retired former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum.
"We have match-winning players in our side. Dwayne Bravo is there. Brendon McCullum is there. That shows how much experience we have in dressing room. We are all looking forward to it. Now it's a chance for a lot of youngsters to play for Gujarat (franchise). You see Gujarat did not have an IPL team before. It's a very good opportunity for the Gujaratis," said
Raina with 3699 runs from 132 games is the highest cumulative run-getter in the league. The left handed player said the Lions were lucky to have Bravo, his old CSK teammate, in its ranks. "I met him in Bombay (Mumbai) and I am very happy. I am lucky to have him in my team."
Referring to the World T20 championship, in which pre-tournament favourites India came a cropper against Bravo's team in the semi final at the Wankhede Stadium here, Raina said ups and downs were part of sports.
"We did really well as a batting unit. We also did really well as a bowling unit barring a few games. It's part and parcel of sports, some you win, some you lose. But I am happy for the West Indies. They played really well in the World Cup. They know the conditions. They know each and every player and how to prepare themselves in IPL."
"Just go there and smash (the ball). It's just what I had done with my old team and with the Indian team," he retorted when asked for his goals in the IPL.