Former South African all-rounder Albie Morkel feels Suresh Raina’s absence from the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will leave a big void in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team. He added that the franchise will have to make a few changes to restore the balance.
Suresh Raina initially travelled with the CSK squad to Dubai but returned to India due to personal reasons.
“He (Suresh Raina) has been a run machine for them and electric in the field, so [his absence] will leave a massive gap...They (CSK) will probably have to make a few changes now to cover for him and get the balance of the team right.”
CSK was dealt another major blow after Ruturaj Gaikwad, who was being groomed to replace Suresh Raina in the middle order, tested COVID-19 positive yet again and is set to miss the first set of matches.
Along with Suresh Raina, the other big talking point has been CSK captain MS Dhoni, who will be back on the cricket field for the first time since last year’s World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand.
‘I enjoyed my time at CSK the most’: Albie Morkel
Albie Morkel, who played for CSK from 2008 to 2013, praised MS Dhoni's leadership skills and lauded his efforts in guiding the franchise to multiple IPL titles. He said:
“I enjoyed my time at CSK the most. We had six very successful years, but apart from that the group of players really got along. Dhoni was the cornerstone of our success. He is someone who leads by example.”
Morkel further stated that MS Dhoni always stays ahead of everyone else on the field and believes that his ability to stay calm in crunch situations will help his side in the upcoming IPL.
“He is obviously very skilful in what he does, but also has the ability to stay calm under immense pressure. Other players reach their ‘breaking points’ before him. He knows that and takes full advantage of that.”
Apart from his six-year stint at CSK, Albie Morkel has also played for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils and the Rising Pune Supergiants. He has scored 974 runs and picked 85 wickets in 91 IPL games.