Kanpur, May 13: Gujarat Lions' (GL) journey in the Indian Premier League (IPL) ends today (May 13) with a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Ahead of the last game, captain Suresh Raina had a message to all the supporters of the two-year-old franchise.
GL joined IPL when the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) invited bids to replace the suspended teams Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR). GL and Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) were awarded two-year contracts to play in the Twenty20 tournament.
With CSK and RR set to rejoin the league in 2018, GL and RPS will no longer be part of the tournament.
GL, who are out of play-offs race in IPL 2017, face SRH at Kanpur's Green Park Stadium. And before the contest, Raina, in a video message, thanked fans, coaches, owners and Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA).
"Hi guys it is me Suresh Raina. Thank you so much for you support and blessings to our team in last two years. Just wanted to say thanks to Saurashtra cricket board (association) especially to Niranjan Shah sir. He has been giving us a lot of support and better facilities," Raina said in a 63-second video posted the team's official Twitter page.
He continued, "Thanks to coach Brad Hodge, coach of Gujarat Lions, Kaifi (Mohammad Kaif), Sitanshu Kotak, Heath Streak, Adrian, Deepak, Shirin. A lot of players have been looked after by these bunch of quality coaches. Thanks to our coach, he has been giving a lot of tips to youngsters.
"Definitely, not to forget Keshav Bansal sir. He has been amazing, giving suppport to youngsters, providing good facilities. Definitely Colonel and Ali. Everyone has done their job. We did not win this season. This is the last game for us. Don't know what is going to happen for Guajarat Lions next year. When we come to the ground next year, whichever team I play for, keep supporting me, giving me love and blessings. Just want to say, thank you so much."
Before joing GL, Raina was an integral part of CSK and features in play-offs of all the previous 9 editions. This is the first year in IPL that Raina won't be part of the knockout stages of the tournament. Last year, GL reached the play-offs after topping the Points Table with 9 wins.