Gujarat Lions captain Suresh Raina has an unique record to his name. The southpaw is the only cricketer to have played in every IPL game since the inception of the T20 league in 2008 -- that is 143 matches.
But the middle-order batsman, after having been marked present in all the attendance sheets till now, may miss the next game thereby breaking his 'perfect' record. But even if the Gujarat skipper does remain 'absent' from the Royal Challengers Bangalore encounter on May 14, it won't be due to some injury or benching himself over form worries. The 29-year-old cricketer is taking a break to be with his wife Priyanka Chaudhary, who is expecting their first child.
Suresh Raina with his wife Priyanka. Pic courtesy: Suresh Raina’s Twitter handle
"I'm flying to Holland to meet my wife tomorrow and I'm all excited," Raina said at the post-match interview at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
Raina has flown to Amsterdam, where his wife is due for delivery anytime in the next few days.
He also hinted at the same in his Mother's Day tweet. He posted, "#happymothersday to mum and to future mum. I can't wait to see you both."
Raina has played 143 games on the trot with 132 games for Chennai Super Kings in IPL and Champions League T20 and 11 for Gujarat Lions.
With Gujarat having a spaced out schedule for their last three games, it might mean that Raina will be missing at
the most one match on May 14 against RCB.
Raina is expected to make it for May 19 match against Kolkata Knight Riders at Lions' second home venue Kanpur followed by last league match against Mumbai Indians on May 21.
The Uttar Pradesh all-rounder is also the leading run-getter in the league having amassed 3985 runs at an average of 33.48 from the 143 games.
The batsman played for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the first seven years and was named captain of the newly-formed Gujarat franchise after CSK was banned from the IPL for two seasons on charges of corruption.
Raina's non-availability could mean that either Brendon McCullum or Aaron Finch could lead the Lions in their next game against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium.