Former India opener Virender Sehwag made a very interesting statement with regards to Chennai Super Kings' batter Suresh Raina. The former Delhi Daredevils captain said that while Chennai skipper MS Dhoni is pretty much aware that Suresh Raina is not in good form, he would not drop him from the playing XI.
It is worth highlighting that Raina had scored a 36-ball 54 in Chennai's season-opening match against Delhi Capitals. However, he has not been able to score a single half-century since then and his average has been under 20- not the best indicator of the former India cricketer's calibre.
However, Sehwag believes that only spending some time in the middle can help Raina get back to form and Dhoni will persist with him, now that the Chennai side have made it to the playoffs.
Sehwag highlighted that they can manage despite Raina's lack of runs since the Men in Yellow have a lot of batting depth in their ranks and almost everyone, includiong Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar, in the order can chip in with the bat.
If Raina plays around 20-30 balls, he will get some confidence: Sehwag
"Dhoni knows that Raina hasn’t been performing, but he won’t be thinking of dropping the left-hander and roping in someone else. But if Raina plays around 20-30 balls and scores 10-20 runs, he will get some confidence. CSK know that they bat deep and even Shardul Thakur can do well. So, the Super Kings won’t be worrying a lot," Sehwag told Cricbuzz.
"Earlier, we talked about Raina coming ahead of Dhoni in the batting lineup. Dhoni didn’t bat higher and sent Raina, who got out after playing a poor shot. I don’t think it’s a concern, but Dhoni would want Raina to get some runs before the playoffs," he stated.
The 42-year-old went on to back Raina to come good in the matches to come ahead. If Raina along with Dhoni finds form heading into the business end of the competition, Chennai would be a very tough team to beat in the playoffs.
For now though, Raina's worrisome form with the bat continues as he departed for a 2 against SunRisers Hyderabad on Thursday. Dhoni though showed glimpses of his prime self as he finished the match with a 96-metre six as Chennai became the first team to guarantee themselves a final four berth in IPL 2021.